DALLAS - A 19-year-old burglary suspect was pronounced dead after he was shot and a Tased by a Dallas officer responding to a break-in call late Wednesday night at a Pleasant Grove home.
However, friends of the suspect, Gerardo Pinedo, said the residence he was accused of breaking into was his childhood home and is still owned by his father.
In a statement released by Dallas police, spokeswoman Melinda Gutierrez said Pinedo was shot after he threw an object at one of the responding officer's heads and then charged at another officer.
Jesus Vidales was one of the last people to see Pinedo, who he said went by the name "Jack." Vidales said he told his friend to go to the house in the 1600 block of Conner Dr. after a night of drinking whiskey at a nearby residence.
"He was just screaming and hollering and saying weird stuff," Vidales said of his friend, who he said was inebriated.
While the Pinedo family moved from the home, Vidales said his friend still had a key and would stay there when visiting friends in the neighborhood.
Police said officers were called to the home at about 10 p.m. Upon their arrival, Sr. Cpl. Mark Meltabarger and Officer Jamal Robinson were told by a neighbor that he heard noises coming from the home and believed an intruder was inside.
While inspecting the surroundings, Meltabarger spotted Pinedo in the back doorway of the home and ordered him to exit the house. According to police, Pinedo responded by running into the backyard and sprinting in circles before curling up in the fetal position on the ground.
Officers said Pinedo then threw an object at Meltabarger's head when the senior corporal drew his Taser and jumped up and began running towards Robinson.
"As the suspect charged him, he felt him touch him on ... his arm and Officer Robinson fired once," said Major Jeff Cotner, Dallas Police Department. "At the same time, unbeknownst to Officer Robinson, Sr. Cpl. Meltabarger was pointing his Taser and [Pinedo] was struck with the Taser in the back."
Paramedics transported the suspect to Baylor Hospital, where he underwent surgery. He was later pronounced dead.
"He doesn't have a violent bone in his body, but that's what alcohol will do to you," said Bradley McDonald, a friend who said he was waiting for a call from Pinedo to pick him up.
"Losing someone that you see like a little brother is so hard," McDonald said. "It's unimaginable."
Robinson, who graduated from the police academy about seven weeks ago, has been placed on routine administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting. His trainer, Meltabarger, has been with the department for more than 13 years.