A Harris County, Texas, deputy was caught on video fatally shooting an unarmed man who was walking in the middle of a street intersection with his pants around his ankles.
The video, obtained by the Houston Chronicle, shows the unidentified deputy drawing his weapon on Danny Thomas on Thursday.
A woman off-camera can be heard commenting as the situation unfolds.
“He about to get tased,” the woman speculates. Then a vehicle drives in front of the camera, just before a single shot is heard.
“He shot that man?” the woman exclaims. “Why he shot him? Why he shot him that man? He should’ve gotten tased. He shouldn’t have shot that man in no street.”
As the vehicle moves out of the way, Thomas is seen lying facedown on the ground.
According to an earlier report by the Chronicle, the deputy was reportedly trying to break up a fight before shooting Thomas. Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said that the deputy was passing by the intersection when he saw two men involved in what seemed to be a verbal and physical altercation.
Authorities said that Thomas started acting aggressively toward the officer and ignoring commands. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Department said that Thomas had “some object” in his hands and, thus, we got to the usual excuse, which is that the deputy “feared for his life” before firing the single fatal shot.
Thomas was rushed to the hospital, where he died. And, perhaps predictably, no weapon was recovered from the scene.
Thomas’ family is now left to figure out what happened and why their loved one was killed.
His sister, Marketa Thomas, told the Chronicle that she relied on her brother because they both battled with depression.
“Knowing that he was OK when I woke up every day made me fine,” she said. “And knowing that my brother is no longer here—you think I’m going to be fine? I’m not going to be fine. That’s my brother.
“That’s my flesh and my blood,” she added. “We’ve been through everything together. He had my back through everything. And he promised me he wouldn’t leave me, and he didn’t leave me. Somebody took him from me.”
This is not the first time Thomas’ family has dealt with tragedy. Family members say that Thomas’ children, 5-year-old Kayana and 7-year-old O’Raylan, were killed after their mother allegedly drowned them in a bathtub in 2016. Sheborah Thomas, the children’s mother, is awaiting trial on two counts of capital murder.
The Houston Police Department is currently leading the investigation into the shooting, which Gonzalez described as “a reminder of how things could escalate in these situations.”
“Our deputies work in a very difficult environment where they have to make split-second decisions to protect their lives as well,” he said.
“Our condolences go to the family of this individual,” Gonzalez added. “Obviously they’re someone’s loved one. These situations are always difficult, and so the main thing we can do is to make sure that we get the facts and that we’re thorough and transparent.”