World

Texas man killed with his arms raised may have been holding knife, video shows

Gilbert Flores in an undated handout photo provided by the Bexar County (Texas) Sheriff's Office.

Gilbert Flores in an undated handout photo provided by the Bexar County (Texas) Sheriff's Office.

A second video has emerged of the confrontation between deputies and a Texas man who had his hands raised before he was shot and killed. In it, it appears he is carrying what investigators believe was a knife.

Bexar County Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said at a news conference Wednesday that the video was forwarded to the state crime lab to see if the footage can be blown up and slowed down. She said authorities believe 41-year-old Gilbert Flores was holding a knife but it’s unclear.

An initial video recorded by a motorist from some distance was posted online by a San Antonio TV station showing Flores outside a residence Friday facing two deputies when he raises his hands. One arm is obscured by a utility pole.

Pamerleau said the second video shows that both of Flores’ arms were raised when he was killed.

The deputies fired at Flores multiple times. Sheriff’s official had previously said Flores was armed at the time of the shooting, though didn’t specify with what, and that nonlethal efforts to subdue him, including a Taser, were unsuccessful.

On Tuesday, Bexar County District Attorney Nico LaHood described the second video and the one broadcast on the TV station as “disturbing,” but cautioned against a rush to judgment as authorities continue to investigate the shooting.

He declined to say whether Flores’ arm motion as seen in the video was surrender.

"I don't know what his intent was," he said. "All I can tell you is the video is disturbing. But my encouragement to everyone is to press the pause button."

San Antonio attorney Thomas J. Henry, who is representing the family, said in an interview Tuesday that the initial video appears to show that deadly force was unnecessary but he is seeking more evidence.

"From a lay perspective, 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." He said the family is considering filing a lawsuit to compel authorities to turn over more evidence.

Flores' death is the country's latest law enforcement shooting to draw heavy scrutiny for using deadly force in a situation where it may not have been necessary. Law enforcement officials in the U.S. have expressed concern that the deadly confrontations have spawned retaliatory shootings of officers, including last week's death of a suburban Houston deputy at a gas station.

Deputies Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez, who were not equipped with body cameras at the time of the encounter, have been placed on administrative leave. Sanchez has worked more than 20 years with the sheriff's office and Vasquez has been with the agency more than 10 years, according to records with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. Both had received training in use of force and nonlethal devices.

Bexar County court records show Flores was convicted in 2003 of aggravated robbery, and the San Antonio Express-News reports he also has a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, who represents part of the San Antonio area, said in a statement that Friday's shooting was "extremely disturbing."

"This incident is further evidence that police officers and deputies should wear body cameras," he said. "The widely supported technology brings transparency and accountability that protects law enforcement and civilians alike."

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter & Instagram