A second video has emerged that offers “more clarity” about the fatal police shooting of a suspect in Texas who appeared to put his hands up before being killed, the local district attorney told NBC News on Wednesday.
Questions were raised over the shooting of 41-year-old Gilbert Flores in San Antonio after footage was posted online appearing to show him raise his hands before being shot. The first piece of footage of the Aug. 28 incident was filmed from a distance. It does not show one of Flores’ hands, which was apparently obscured by a post.
Nico Lahood, district attorney for Bexar County, confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday that there was a second video of the encounter from “a different angle” that is now being reviewed.
“It’s a better angle and much closer. It brings more clarity to the situation,” he said, declining to provide further detail on the content of the video.
Thomas J. Henry, who identified himself as a lawyer for the Flores family, told reporters on Wednesday that he is pressing the district attorney to release the video. He also said that he would explore filing a federal civil rights lawsuit.
“When you put your hands up in this country, I believe most people think that you’re giving up and you’re no longer a threat,” he said.
Flores was shot after deputies responded to a domestic disturbance and found a woman with a cut on her head, a potentially injured infant, and an armed suspect — presumably Flores.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has said that Flores resisted arrest and that deputies fired shots when non-lethal attempts to detain him failed. The deputies — Greg Vasquez and Robert Sanchez — have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. Administration leave is customary under such circumstances.
Dispatcher audio from the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office on the day of the shooting said that Flores had a knife in his hand at some point during the encounter and was “threatening suicide by cops.” The audio was published by the online archive Broadcastify.
Lahood told NBC News that Flores had a knife in his hand at one point during the confrontation but would not say whether the weapon was shown in the new video.
He said the videos were “disturbing” but urged people not to jump to conclusions until the sheriff’s investigation was complete and had been handed over to his office for analysis.
“Our oath is to seek justice,” he added. “If getting it right is holding these deputies accountable I’m going to do it…Before I make a decision I need all the evidence first.”
He acknowledged that people would want instant answers because of the “national conversation,” referring to other high-profile police shootings this year.
“But pause, pump the brakes and let the system play out,” he said.
Lahood also said he was open to the idea of releasing the second piece of footage to the public in due course.
“I’m a very transparent person. But what I also am a huge advocate for preserving the [legal] process,” he said.
Henry, the lawyer, would not give details of the domestic dispute. He said that Flores and the woman had a three-week-old baby.
“There was a confrontation, and there were two people who still loved each other and had a family,” he said, “and this gentleman was killed right there in the front yard.”
Michael Thomas, a college student who shot the first video and gave it to a local television station, told NBC News that he started recording because of “there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now.”
He mentioned the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death in police custody of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.
“No one knows the real story if there’s no video,” he said. “It’s just word of mouth.”