BELTON Texas (AP) — Family members of a Black man fatally shot by a Killeen, Texas, police officer who was responding to a mental health call are calling for the officer to be arrested and charged for the shooting.
Patrick Lynn Warren, 52, was shot Sunday by Officer Reynaldo Contreras, who was responding to what has been termed a psychiatric call, police said.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for Warren’s family, said Thursday that Warren was in the midst of a “mental health crisis” and that the man had voluntarily gone to a hospital with a different Killeen officer the day before the shooting. He returned home and later developed manic symptoms, which prompted Sunday’s call.
“Instead of that same resource officer who had helped before, they sent Reynaldo Contreras,” Merritt said. “The officer had a hostile demeanor and was not prepared to deal with a mental health crisis … (the incident) continued to escalate. (Warren) was within his rights to reject the services of this law enforcement officer.”
Contreras is on paid leave pending an investigation of the shooting by Texas Rangers, according to Police Chief Charles Kimble. The officer’s race hadn’t been released by authorities.
The chief said in a statement that he understands the community’s concern and that more information is forthcoming.
“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,” Kimble said.
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza told the Killeen Daily Herald that he is awaiting the results of the Rangers’ investigation.
“They are in the process of conducting a full investigation surrounding the facts and circumstances of this officer-involved shooting,” Garza said. “As has been our practice and procedure, we await the conclusion of the investigation and then proceed accordingly.”
Warren’s wife, Bobbie Warren, said in a statement that Contreras should already be in custody.
“We expect Officer Reynaldo Contreras to be arrested immediately. There is more than enough probable cause for the Killeen Police Department, Texas Rangers or Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza to issue a warrant for Contreras’ immediate arrest and detainment,” Bobbie Warren stated.