‘I told you, don’t use a gun:’ Video shows moments leading up to and following deadly local police shooting

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 12:43 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2021 at 6:06 PM CST
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) – Video released Wednesday by civil rights attorney Lee Merritt shows the moments before a Killeen police officer shot and killed a man whom police described as “emotionally distressed,” and the immediate aftermath as a resident repeatedly says, “I told you, don’t use a gun.”

The officer, whom police identified Wednesday as Reynaldo Contreras, a five-year department veteran, shot and killed Patrick Warren, Sr., 52, after responding at around 5:30 p.m. Sunday in the 1600 block of Carrollton Avenue in Killeen.

“A mental health call should not be a death sentence,” Merritt, who’s representing Warren’s family, said in a press release Wednesday.

The family is demanding the firing and the arrest of the officer, an independent investigation and the release of body and dashboard camera video.

The video, which appears to have been edited, shows the officer at the door, and then briefly entering the house before stepping back outside, and then shows Warren stepping out with his hands in the air.

The shooting occurred out of the view of the surveillance camera, but the gunfire is audible on what appears to be cellphone video.

“Upon the officer’s arrival, he encountered an emotionally distressed man,” police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez said earlier.

“The officer initially used his conducted energy weapon, which was ineffective, and then discharged his duty weapon during the encounter, striking the subject,” she said.

Warren was taken to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center where he died.

Neighbors said they saw Warren on Saturday chanting on the street where he lived.

They described him as a “nice guy” who helped neighbors with their yard work.

Warren’s family had “contacted mental health professionals for help” after noticing changes in Warren’s behavior, Merritt said in the press release.

The family was told a mental health deputy wasn’t available so Killeen officers were sent to the home instead, he said.

Warren, Merritt said, “initially greeted officers, but asked them to leave his property.”

After using a Taser in an attempt to subdue Warren, Merritt says, the officer “fired his first shot into Patrick and (then) redirected his weapon towards Patrick’s wife, Barbara, telling her to get back from Patrick.”

“The officer again trains his weapon on Patrick’s body and continues to fire his weapon, killing him,” Merritt said.

Contreras was placed on administrative leave.

Texas Rangers are investigating.

This incident is rightfully of great concern to the community,” police Chief Charles Kimble said in a statement Wednesday.

“As Killeen police chief, it is my duty to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted so that all parties, including the public, have the answers they seek. There are many more facts in this case that are not publicly available at this time. I assure you that more information will be made available as soon as appropriate, and I ask for your patience as both investigations proceed.”

Merritt also represents the family of Michael Dean of Temple who was shot to death by Officer Carmen DeCruz on Dec. 2, 2019 after a pursuit and in January 2018 filed and later dropped a brutality claim against Harker Heights police following a public intoxication arrest on New Year’s Day.

Decruz was indicted for manslaughter in 2020.

KWTX has requested dash and body cam video of the shooting from the Killeen Police Department.

Warren’s family has created a GoFundMe account to raise funds for funeral expenses.

Warren had lost his job because of the pandemic and his life insurance policy had recently expired.

(Rosemond Crown contributed to this story)

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