Crime

Witness says man’s body was left unattended after he was shot

Patricia Murphy, who says she happened onto the scene of the fatal shooting of Mexican immigrant Ruben Garcia Villalpando, 31, of North Richland Hills, by a Grapevine police officer in February, speaks at a news conference, Thursday, March 12, 2015, at the law offices of Domingo Garcia in Dallas.
Patricia Murphy, who says she happened onto the scene of the fatal shooting of Mexican immigrant Ruben Garcia Villalpando, 31, of North Richland Hills, by a Grapevine police officer in February, speaks at a news conference, Thursday, March 12, 2015, at the law offices of Domingo Garcia in Dallas. Star-Telegram

A Euless woman told reporters Thursday that she saw the body of Mexican national Ruben García Villalpando lying unattended on a grass median after he was shot last month by a Grapevine police officer.

Patricia Murphy, who moved to Euless from Chicago seven months ago, spoke at the Dallas law office of Domingo García, who is representing Ruben García’s family.

Murphy said she was driving south on the access road of Texas 121 about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 20 when she saw a Toyota on the side of the service road, and a man’s body lying face up about 6 feet away. The driver’s door was open, and it looked as if the man had been hit by a car because the vehicle was perpendicular to the highway, she said.

She said she saw no police officers.

“I just saw his body and no police car,” she said. “I couldn’t call [911] because I didn’t have my phone.”

Murphy said an ambulance arrived in about five minutes. The first police car to arrive was from Euless, she said.

Domingo García said he believed that Grapevine officer Robert Clark fled the scene. “It appears we have a bad apple,” he said of the officer.

Lt. Eric Starnes, a Euless police spokesman, said Murphy’s account doesn’t match video evidence.

“I will not speak to the investigation, but I will assure the public that Mr. [García] was not left alone after he went down. At least one officer stayed with him until advanced life support arrived,” Starnes wrote in a statement sent to the media.

“We’ll put her name in the report, but everything she said was a mismatch.”

He confirmed that Murphy was one of the 28 witnesses detectives have interviewed.

Ruben García, 31, of North Richland Hills was shot twice in the chest by Clark about 6:30 p.m. on the Texas 121 service road in Euless after a brief pursuit, police have said. He was pronounced dead at 12:06 a.m. at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Family members who were shown video footage of the shooting have said that Clark shouted profanities at García as he walked toward the officer with his hands up. At one point he asked the officer, “Are you going to kill me?” his brother-in-law told the Star-Telegram.

The department initially said it would release the video to the media but later said investigators were advised by the Tarrant County district attorney’s office not to do so.

The Mexican government has condemned the shooting, and there have been protests in downtown Grapevine each of the past two Tuesdays. More protests are planned until Grapevine police release the video, organizers have said.

Because the shooting happened in Euless, that city’s police department is handling the criminal investigation and will turn its findings over to the district attorney’s office. Grapevine police are handling the administrative aspect.

A Tarrant County grand jury will review the shooting, which is standard procedure.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792

Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST

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