Houston Police Officers Fired After Shooting Death Of Mentally Ill Man

Houston Police Officers Fired After Shooting Death Of Mentally Ill Man

Nicholas Chavez was shot 21 times by officers while on the ground.

Published September 11th

Written by Madison J. Gray

Four Houston police officers were fired on Thursday (Sept. 10), after a lengthy investigation into the shooting of a man who was having a mental health episode, in which they discharged 24 rounds at him. The family is still calling for the officers to be charged.

"It doesn't change how my heart feels," said Leantha Chavez at a press conference on Thursday, according to the Houston Chronicle. "It's very hard to be happy and sad about something so tragic. It’s a weird feeling. You don’t know whether to be up or to be down. Now it's time to move onto the next step which is charging (the officers)."

On April 21, officers responded to 911 calls about Nicholas Chavez, 27, who was seen running through highway traffic, according to ABC News. When officers approached him in a parking lot, they claim he was holding a metal object. The officers said they shot Chavez with bean bags and stun guns in an attempt to "stop him from harming himself," according to police chief Art Acevedo, while showing police body camera footage. But that had no effect, according to an HPD statement.

One of the officers then fired from his service weapon after claiming Chavez was charging them. He fell when he was struck, but they say he continued to crawl toward a stun gun that was dropped by one officer. That’s when the other officers opened fire, hitting him with 21 rounds, killing him.

At a press conference on Thursday, Acevedo said that three of the shots were “objectively reasonable” but the other 24 were not. because Chavez "was at his greatest level of incapacitation."

The fired officers were identified as Sgt. Benjamin LeBlanc, Omar Tapia, Patrick Rubio, and Luis Alvarado. All of them were found to have fired multiple shots at Chavez. A fifth officer, Kevin Nguyen, who fired a single shot was not terminated. A criminal investigation is underway.

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Photo: Screengrab, KTRK


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