By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - The Texas Rangers have been called in to investigate the shooting death by police of a student at a Catholic university near San Antonio that his family calls suspicious and local police describe as justifiable.
Robert Cameron Redus, 23 and an honor student at the University of the Incarnate Word, was shot multiple times last Friday by Christopher Carter, an officer with university's police force. The incident took place a few blocks off campus after a traffic stop.
"A lot of agencies request the Texas Rangers to provide outside assistance with investigations like this, due to the level of expertise we have," Trooper Jason Reyes, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, which includes the Texas Rangers, said on Tuesday.
The Rangers have a long history in the state and now are responsible for areas that include major investigations, border security and shootings by law enforcement.
Richard Pruitt, chief of police in the San Antonio suburb of Alamo Heights, where the incident took place, told a news conference this week that Redus had been driving erratically not far from campus, and that Carter pulled him over near the apartment complex where Redus lived.
"Officer Carter instructed Redus 14 times to place his hands behind his back," Pruitt said. "He informed him three times he was under arrest, and told him 56 times to stop resisting."
Pruitt said Redus grabbed Carter's baton and attacked the officer. Carter regained control of the baton and shot Redus five times when he charged at him again. Redus was pronounced dead at the scene.
University of the Incarnate Word spokeswoman Debra Del Toro said in a statement: "The officer drew his firearm and was able to knock the baton from the suspect who continued to resist arrest."
Redus' family said in a statement on Tuesday they did not believe the police account of the shooting.
"Cameron has never been an aggressive or confrontational person," the family said. "We expect all official reports to confirm that Cameron's death was unnecessary and unjustified."
The university said a video camera mounted in the patrol car, which should have recorded the incident, was not in operation because it fell off during a recent cold spell. It said that Carter also gave the wrong location for the incident, which delayed the arrival of other officers to the scene.
(This December 10 story has been corrected to change name of state agency in 3rd paragraph to "Texas Department of Public Safety" from "Texas Department of Criminal Justice")
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; editing by Cynthia Johnston, G Crosse)