A suburban Dallas police officer shot and killed an unarmed 19-year-old college football player during a struggle after the teen crashed a car through the front window of a car dealership, authorities said on Friday.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the man as Christian Taylor, of Arlington. Taylor was a sophomore at San Angelo State University.
Officers responded to a burglary call about 1 a.m. Friday in Arlington when they discovered someone had driven a vehicle through a front window of the Classic Buick GMC, according to a statement from the Arlington Police Department. The statement said police approached the suspect and a struggle ensued. At some point during the struggle, an officer shot Taylor.
Brad Miller, 49, was identified as the officer who shot Taylor. He had been with the department since last September and was working under supervision of a training officer since his graduation from the police academy in March. The police statement said Miller had no experience before joining the force.
Miller will be placed on administrative leave, which is routine in such cases.
The shooting comes amid increased scrutiny nationwide of police use of force, particularly in cases involving black suspects. Taylor was black. The case resonated on social media, with posts questioning the official account that Taylor was committing a robbery and asking why there was no video of the altercation. By Friday night, #ChristianTaylor was trending on Twitter.
Taylor's great uncle, Clyde Fuller of Grand Prairie, Texas, described Taylor as "a good kid" and said he didn't believe that Taylor was trying to commit a crime.
"They say he's burglarizing the place by running up in there? Nuh-uh. Something doesn't sound right," Fuller told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
As of early Saturday morning, it was unclear whether there was any video of the shooting. Police Sgt. Paul Rodriguez said Arlington officers have not been equipped with body cameras and police said they haven’t found any dealership security video that captured the incident.
The Star-Telegram reported that court records it reviewed showed Taylor was sentenced to six months of deferred adjudication last December on a drug charge stemming from a September 2013 traffic stop in which police reported Taylor was found with 11 hydrocodone tablets not prescribed to him. The case was dismissed July 14 after Taylor satisfied the requirement of his probation. He graduated from Summit High School in Mansfield, Texas, in 2014.
Angelo State officials said they were saddened to hear of the death of Taylor, a 5-foot-9, 180-pound defensive back.
"We're not familiar with any of the details because it happened away from here, but we'd just like people to know that we are sad and sorry for his family and friend," university spokeswoman Becky Brackin told the San Angelo Standard-Times.
In a Twitter posting, football coach Will Wagner said, "Heart is hurting."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.