Man fatally shot by Houston police officer, family says he was going through mental health crisis

The family of Alfredo Gonzales Garza is outraged after watching camera footage that shows what led up to his death.

The 26-year-old was fatally shot by a Houston police officer on Oct. 25 after calls were made about a man disrupting traffic with a flagpole off Long Point Road in the Spring Branch area.

Surveillance video from nearby businesses shows the interaction between the officer, identified as I. Garcia, and Garza. He can be seen walking away and sometimes towards the officer.


Police say Garza was armed with a knife, while also holding the flagpole, and walking toward Officer Garcia. HPD says after verbal commands were made for Garza to drop the knife, Officer Garcia shot Garza in the chest.

"What was shown in this video leaves us with more questions than answers," says FIEL Executive Director Cesar Espinosa. "We are here today to make sure their voices are heard."

Garza's family members held a press conference on Wednesday with FIEL, the immigrant-led civil rights organization. Espinosa says Garza was staying with family, and they were looking for him prior to the shooting.

"We are dealing with another incident where instead of this person getting the help that they needed, they, unfortunately, came to an untimely death due to the circumstances they were facing," says Espinosa.

The officer did not turn on his body camera until after the shooting. You can see Garcia rendering aid to Garza in the HPD-released video, but not the moments prior to the fatal shot.

"We don't understand why Officer Garcia did not turn it on prior to him exiting his vehicle," says Espinosa.

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Garza's mother held back tears while talking about her son's mental health history. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder three years ago and was just hospitalized in September.

"He was physically and psychologically hurt by many people for having a mental illness," says Minerva Garza. "I searched for help for him. The system failed me. They would tell me the only way to detain him for a long time was for him to commit a crime and for police to oblige him to be at a mental health facility."

HPD says the shooting is being investigated by their Special Investigations Unit, Internal Affairs, and the Harris County District Attorney's Office.