HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says a deputy who responded to a call about a mental health crisis fatally shot a man who had a knife.
The shooting occurred around midnight in the 5900 block of Sunflower Prairie in east Harris County.
According to the sheriff’s office, the deputy responded to the scene after the man’s daughter called in to report that her father was experiencing a mental health crisis.
The sheriff’s office says, while the deputy was en route, the dispatcher requested a mental health unit to go to the location but they were tied up at another scene.
The deputy was met at the front door by the man who was armed with a knife and in a mental health crisis, HCSO says.
The deputy tried to give him orders to drop the knife, the sheriff’s office says, but the man reportedly approached him.
The deputy and the man reportedly ended up retreating a number of yards into the street.
At some point, the sheriff’s office says the deputy tried to use his taser, but the taser was not effective.
The sheriff’s office says the deputy then discharged his weapon, striking the man.
The deputy began first aid, and EMS took over. The man was pronounced dead.
The family identified the man as 45-year-old Marcelo Garcia, who was living with his wife and four children at his parent's house.
We're told that Garcia suffered with mental illness since he was a teenager. According to his family, he was diagnosed as being bipolar and schizophrenic, for which he was taking medication.
FOX 26 did speak with the sheriff's office about their crisis intervention teams.
"We do have nine crisis intervention response team member units across the agency," said Sgt. Jose Gomez with Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
While none of those units were available for Garcia’s crisis, Gomez says every deputy has 40 hours of training on how to respond to a mental health scenario.
"Part of the training is being able to process that information, recognizing a crisis, and going into the options," said Gomez.
That includes options like iPads with therapists live on the line.
Instead of a iPad, witnesses say the deputy fired several shots.
The deputy has been placed on temporary administrative leave, as is standard procedure during officer-involved shooting investigations.
The investigation is ongoing. Authorities will review body camera video and any available surveillance video.
The case is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office Homicide Division, Sheriff’s Office Internal Affairs, and the District Attorney’s Office. An autopsy to determine the man’s cause of death will be performed by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.