DALLAS –– A Dallas police officer on Friday night shot and killed a combative suspect who disarmed him of his Taser and refused to relinquish it, a spokesman says.
Police were called at 11:40 p.m. to a report of a major disturbance at 1500 E. Missouri Ave. regarding a man sitting on the front porch of a home. When police arrived, Salvador Munoz, 22, was awaiting them. Shortly thereafter, he was dead; shot, officers say, after he attempted to Tase police.
On Saturday night, family and friends joined together for a vigil to honor Munoz's memory. Family members are calling the incident "out of character" for the 22-year old.
“Y'all gotta speak and be his voice because I know he would've done it for everybody here,” said Maria Rivera, a family member.
According to department spokeswoman Magdalen Boyle, Munoz quickly grew “combative and aggressive” toward responding officers after they approached him.
When they tried to handcuff him, the man fought back, spurring an officer to pull out the Taser. Boyle said witnesses told investigators they saw Munoz rip the Taser from the officer and pointed it at police.
When Munoz refused to drop the Taser, Boyle said an officer shot him. The suspect died at the scene.
“Witnesses report that they heard the officers giving loud verbal commands to the suspect to drop the Taser,” Boyle wrote in an email. “The suspect refused. The officer discharged his weapon, striking the suspect.”
Family and friends call the shooting unwarranted. One family member even called Munoz's actions Friday night a “cry for help.”
“There could've been a different way to handle it. They didn't have to shoot, they didn't have to kill,” said Victoria Rivera.
The officer, who has not been identified, was placed on administrative leave. It is department policy to put any police officer who uses his or her weapon on paid leave while the Internal Affairs Division investigates the incident.
“We are conducting a thorough investigation of this incident. Independent civilian witnesses indicate that the suspect attacked the officers, disarmed the officers of their Taser and attempted to Tase the officers,” said Chief David Brown in a prepared statement. “We will update the public as soon as the investigation is complete.”
Munoz has a criminal history that includes drug possession and delivery, resisting arrest and assault on a public servant, Boyle said.
“Nothing is going to bring Junior back as much as we pray. What we want at the end of the day is closure,” Rivera said.