Video of a fatal police shooting in Texas where the suspect appeared to have his hands up has sparked a growing outcry and appeals for calm from authorities.
Gilbert Flores, 41, was shot and killed just before noon on Aug. 28 in San Antonio, Texas.
The Bexar County Sheriff's Office said in an initial statement that deputies responding to a domestic disturbance found a woman with a cut on her head, a potentially injured infant and an armed suspect — presumably Flores.
"Two deputies attempted to arrest the armed suspect, but he resisted," the statement said. "The deputies used non-lethal weapons to try and detain the man. When those efforts failed, the deputies fired shots hitting the man."
However, footage shot by a bystander first obtained by ABC News' local affiliate KSAT and posted online has raised questions over the encounter. Captured from a distance, it shows deputies approaching a shirtless Flores — who has one arm obscured by a post. Flores appears to put his hands up in surrender before he is shot multiple times and falls to the ground, motionless. It is not possible to see if Flores had a weapon in one hand which was not visible in the video.
It was not clear what occurred before the recording began.
The video is the latest footage of a fatal police shooting to raise questions about use of force. Other cases — like the killing of Michael Brown in Missouri — have sparked widespread protests, though most involved white officers and black victims. Both Flores and the deputies who shot him were Latino.
"We're asking for calm and patience"
Terri Burke, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said that even though the video "doesn't show every aspect" of the incident, it raises "serious questions" about whether the deputies' use of force was proportional or legal.
"Like other events that that we’ve seen across the country involving interactions with law enforcement, this one points to a troubling trend of overzealous and abusive policing," Burke said in a statement.
The deputies involved in the shooting — Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez — have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation as is customary under such circumstances. Both have been with the sheriff's office for more than 10 years.
Bexar County Prosecutor Nico LaHood said Tuesday that a second video has emerged that gives authorities a "very clear view" of the confrontation, according to The Associated Press. LaHood described both videos as "disturbing," but cautioned against a rush to judgment as authorities investigate the shooting.
San Antonio attorney Thomas J. Henry, who is representing the victim's family, told the AP that the Flores family is considering filing a lawsuit to compel authorities to turn over more evidence.
"Seeing the video, it does appear the immediate danger is gone because he had both hands in the air," Henry said. "Now there are other videos and other pieces of evidence that we want to gather."
Meanwhile, the FBI said it has initiated a civil-rights investigation into the shooting.
"Experienced civil rights investigators from the FBI will thoroughly review the facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting," the San Antonio division of the bureau said in a statement. "Our focus is to determine whether a civil rights violation took place as a result of a deputy willfully engaging in the use of excessive or unjustified force."
Amid the growing outcry, the Bexar County Sheriff's Office slammed the ABC affiliate's decision to post the cellphone video online. The broadcast prompted "physical threats" toward deputies, the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post, urging locals to call KSAT and complain.
"We're asking for calm and patience," it said in a later post. "We are diligently working to complete the investigation so we can move to the next step. We want to get this right for the Flores family, our deputies and our community."
Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro said that he trusts the local district attorney will pursue an indictment if the evidence merits one, calling the shooting "extremely disturbing."
"This incident is further evidence that police officers and deputies should wear body cameras," he added. "The widely-supported technology brings transparency and accountability that protects law enforcement and civilians alike."
The deputies involved in the Flores shooting were not equipped with body cameras, according to the AP.