April V. Taylor
The Daily Mail is reporting that Laredo Police Department officers have shot a schizophrenic man more than 80 times. Family members report that the incident left the man with “no face.” The incident occurred outside of a truck stop and was recorded on surveillance cameras. Video does show that 30-year-old Jose Walter Garza was carrying a pellet gun that was replica of a semiautomatic handgun but does not provide any evidence that Garza was in fact threatening the six officers who shot at him. Authorities report receiving a call about a man carrying a gun. It is important to note that Texas is an open carry state, so a person openly carrying a weapon is not a direct violation of the law.
A police spokesman reports that officers fired on Garza after he “put his finger on the trigger guard and pointed at the officers.” A statement made to the Laredo Morning Times by Laredo Police Chief Ray Garner indicates that officials feels as though the officers actions were justified based on the circumstances and that officers requested Garza put down the weapon prior to opening fire. The officers involved have been assigned administrative duties while an internal investigation is conducted.
Garza’s family reports that he took medication for schizophrenia and could become disruptive when not medicated but not aggressive as police allege that he was. Andrea Martinez, Garza’s cousin stated to the Daily News that Garza, “wouldn’t get aggressive, he wouldn’t hurt anyone.” Regarding the officers shooting Garza more than 80 times, she stated, “Why didn’t they shoot him in the leg, or arm or something?” Martinez also reports that Garza’s grandmother wanted to bury him in a casket but decided that his body was in such horrible condition that the family will be unable to carry out that wish.