Officer who shot unarmed Central Texas man with mental health issues returns to work
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Killeen police Officer Reynaldo Contreras, a five-year department veteran who shot and killed a man with mental health issues in January as the man ignored his repeated commands to lie down, and instead continued to advance toward him, has returned to work, police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez confirmed Thursday.
He is on administrative duty, she said, but she did not say when he returned to work or for how long he’ll remain on administrative duty.
Contreras can be heard on video from his body camera telling another officer after the shooting, “I had no choice man, damn it.”
Later, the body camera recorded Contreras saying the Lord’s Prayer as the mortally wounded man was loaded into an ambulance.
Contreras shot Patrick Warren, Sr., 52, after responding at around 5:40 p.m. on Jan. 10 to a home in the 1600 block of Carrollton Avenue in Killeen after police received a call requesting a mental health officer.
Warren’s family, represented by civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, demanded Contreras be fired and arrested.
“A mental health call should not be a death sentence,” Merritt said earlier.
A Bell County mental health deputy had responded to the home on Jan. 9 and had taken Warren to a local hospital, family members said.
According to the family, Warren returned home, but the next day his psychiatric issues continued.
The deputy was not on duty on Jan. 10 and Killeen officers were sent to the home instead.
Merritt claimed Contreras “redirected his weapon towards Patrick’s wife” after firing the first shot at Warren, and then “trained his weapon on Patrick’s body and continued to fire his weapon, killing him.”
Killeen police Chief Charles Kimble, however, while acknowledging a breakdown at the “intersection of police and mental health,” says that’s not what happened.
Contreras, he said, was focused entirely on Warren.
“The narrative is so significantly false we have decided to release the entire video from the Warren house.... we hope it tells a better story and the truth about what happened Jan. 10.”
“It’s a tragic situation, it’s hard to watch,” Kimble said.
An unedited version of the video with narration was posted on the department’s website.
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