The mother of a man charged in the fatal shooting of a Texas police officer said her son is a talented software engineer who has been struggling with depression for months after a bitter breakup with his longtime girlfriend.
Mary O'Dell told The Associated Press on Saturday that she was struggling to come to grips with the arrest of her 24-year-old son, Brandon Montgomery Daniel. He is charged in the shooting death of Austin Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron.
She said she talked with her son Thursday evening, and that he had been taking the prescription anti-anxiety drug Xanax and drinking tequila. Hours later, Padron was fatally shot at a Walmart while trying to subdue a potentially intoxicated man who was later identified as Daniel, investigators said. Two employees tackled and disarmed him, then held him until help arrived.
O'Dell said her son graduated with honors from Colorado State University and had been on the "fast track" at Hewlett-Packard. She described him as a bright young man who was published in three science journals while still in college.
But about three months ago, he began wrestling with a deep depression after a difficult breakup with his longtime girlfriend, she said. Daniel had not been behaving like himself recently and was charged with driving while intoxicated, his mother said.
Authorities said Padron, 40, was responding to a call about a drunk man inside the Walmart around 2:30 a.m. Friday. Police said the suspect tried to run and the officer chased after him before the two fell to the ground, then the man produced a semi-automatic pistol and shot the officer.
Daniel was booked on a capital murder charge. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
O'Dell, who lives in Colorado, said she has not been able to speak with Daniel and that he not yet have an attorney. She said she was relayed information from his DWI attorney, who was able to visit with him in the Travis County jail in Austin. She said Daniel had no memory of what happened after 2 a.m. Friday.
"He wasn't aware this whole particular incident had taken place, he was under the influence of tequila and Xanax," she said.
O'Dell expressed sympathy for Padron's family, saying she has "nothing but a deep felt pain" over his death.
Padron was the first officer shot and killed in the line of duty in Austin since 1978. He worked at the department for more than three years and had previously worked for the Austin airport police and the San Angelo police department for 14 years.
Padron, a former Marine, a veteran of the Gulf War
He left behind two daughters, ages 10 and 6.
"I don't know how this happened," O'Dell said. "There is so much loss here."