Texas officer shoots dead unarmed, black college student

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 08, 2015 1:09 AM

By Victoria Cavaliere

(Reuters) - A Texas police officer fatally shot an unarmed, black 19-year-old college football player suspected of driving a car through the window of a Dallas-area car dealership, authorities said on Saturday.

Police in Arlington, a city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, said the officer, who was still in training, responded early on Friday to a call about a burglary in progress.

Officer Brad Miller, 49, confronted a man who was suspected of driving a vehicle through the front of a car dealership, police said in a statement. Miller's race could not immediately be confirmed.

"There was an altercation during which at least one officer discharged his weapon," police said.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office identified the deceased suspect as Christian Taylor. The medical examiner did not list a manner or cause of death in online records.

Arlington police said Taylor was unarmed before he was killed. Miller was still in training after graduating from the police academy in March, authorities said.

Taylor, an Arlington native, was entering his sophomore year at Angelo State University, where he played defensive back on the school's football team.

"We are still processing this news and are sad for Christian Taylor's family and friends, especially his teammates," Becky Brackin, a spokeswoman at the school in San Angelo, Texas, said in a statement.

The teen's death comes amid increased scrutiny over the use of force by police, particularly when dealing with black and Latino people, following a string of killings of unarmed men that began with the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last year.

Arlington police said the shooting was under review.

"The preservation of life and safety is our highest priority. The Arlington Police Department is saddened by this loss of life and will provide the community a clear and transparent investigation," the department said in a statement.

The 911 call was made from a security company that was observing the suspect on a camera outside the car dealership, police said. Investigators are reviewing video from outside and inside the dealership, but they have not located any video capturing the shooting, they said.

Arlington police do not wear body cameras but a pilot program was in the works, the department said.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Robert Birsel and Matthew Lewis)