A burglary suspect who crashed a vehicle into the showroom of a car dealership was fatally shot early Friday by a police officer, Arlington police reported.
The suspect, Christian Taylor, 19, was a graduate of Mansfield Summit High School and played football at Angelo State University in San Angelo.
Clyde Fuller, Taylor’s great-uncle, described his great-nephew as a good man and talented football player.
“He was a good kid. I don’t see him stealing no car or nothing like that,” Fuller said.
Officers were dispatched to a call about a burglary in progress about 1 a.m. at the Classic Buick GMC dealership on the Interstate 20 service road east of Collins Street, said Sgt. Paul Rodriguez, a police spokesman.
A security company had called 911 after observing the suspect on a security camera outside the business.
Rodriguez said police arrived to find that Taylor had used a vehicle to crash through glass in the front of the showroom.
“The officers went and confronted him. There was an altercation. An officer discharged his weapon and struck the suspect,” Rodriguez said.
Taylor, who was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:47 a.m., was not armed, Rodriguez said.
The officer, identified by the department as 49-year-old Brad Miller, graduated from the police academy in March. He has been in field training and working under the supervision of a training officer, the department said.
The training officer and other officers were on the scene when the shooting occurred, Rodriguez said.
Miller has been placed on administrative leave, as is routine in deadly-force incidents.
“We’re having two independent investigations — a criminal and administrative,” Rodriguez said. “As an agency, we take the loss of any human life as serious, but we owe it to our community to conduct a clear and transparent investigation to determine what exactly took place.”
Fuller said he has many unanswered questions and doesn’t believe his great-nephew was burglarizing the dealership.
“I think something is going on that somebody is lying about,” Fuller said. “They say he’s burglarizing the place by running up in there? Nuh-uh. Something doesn’t sound right.”
‘I just saw him yesterday’
Taylor played defensive back at Mansfield Summit.
“I just saw him yesterday. He came by the office,” coach Travis Pride said Friday evening. “Christian was a charismatic kid and a leader on the football team.
“It makes you do some self-analyzing. You want every kid you coach to have success after football and have good relationships and be able to watch their own kids play sports. When they fall short of that, it makes you sad.”
An Angelo State spokeswoman said that Taylor was enrolled at the school and that football practice was scheduled to begin Wednesday.
“We are all terribly sad for his family and friends,” said Becky Brackin, the school’s director of communications and marketing.
Taylor, who was entering his sophomore season, received a scholarship to play at Angelo State, the preseason favorite to win the Lone Star Conference. He had two interceptions in Angelo State’s spring game, according to the San Angelo Standard-Times.
Angelo State will play at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Sept. 19 against Bacone College of Muskogee, Okla.
Coach Will Wagner tweeted Friday afternoon, “Heart is hurting.”
No body cameras in use
Rodriguez said that the Arlington department is implementing a pilot program for the use of body cameras but that no officers are wearing them yet.
He said, however, that surveillance video shows Taylor engaged in “criminal activity” before the shooting, crashing through the dealership’s metal gate, getting out of his SUV and damaging a vehicle parked in the lot, and later driving through the showroom glass.
The video does not show the shooting, Rodriguez said.
Tarrant County court records show that Taylor has no criminal convictions but was sentenced to six months’ deferred-adjudication probation in December for possession of a controlled substance.
According to an Arlington police report, the charge stemmed from a September 2013 traffic stop in which Taylor was found in possession of 11 hydrocodone tablets that were not prescribed to him.
The case was dismissed July 14 after Taylor completed his probation, court records show.
Staff writer Ryan Osborne contributed to this report.
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655