A Houston police officer shot and killed an unarmed Black on Saturday night.
Officer K. Levi, who is also African-American, claims that “he had no choice” but to shoot Peter Matthew Gaines after Gaines charged toward him after being tased twice, ABC 13 reported.
Levi claimed he pulled over because Gaines “damaging a street sign” on a city freeway and when he got out of his police car to confront Gaines, Levi believed the man was high on PCP given his “agitation.” According to police officials, Gaines refused to stop when asked repeated times, lunging toward Levi, who shot and killed Gaines when two rounds of tasing wouldn’t subdue him.
“He said it was probably in the proximity of three to four feet. That the suspect got that close to him,” said Officer John Cannon from the Houston Police Department Public Affairs Office.
A employee who worked across the street at Burger King didn’t see what led to the shooting, but told ABC 13 that she believes Levi is exaggerating about his perceived level of fear. “I just seen the police shoot him and he fell. The police was not in danger to kill that man. I’m sorry,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified.
The police have yet to release any images of a damaged sign or toxicology reports confirming that Gaines was on drugs, FilmTheCopsNews.com noted.
Friends and family of Gaines identified his body at the scene. A friend, Tracy Turner, told the news that Gaines just celebrated his birthday a few days ago. “They didn’t have to do what they did to him,” she said.
Turner added that Gaines was a caring man. “He’d take the shirt off (his) back, and he’d give it to you,” she said.
Officer Levi has worked for the HPD for four years and this was the first time he had pulled his weapon during his tenure on the force, ABC-13 noted. It’s also important to note that of the 47 people shot by police in Houston last year, 40 were Black or Latino and three were white, FilmTheCops.Com wrote.