The attorney for the family of Ruben García Villalpando has released what he describes as a passer-by’s cellphone video showing García lying “helpless” on the ground, minutes after a Grapevine police officer fatally shot him.
On Saturday morning, Dallas attorney Domingo García posted a video on his Facebook page, facebook.com/domingotexas, that he says was taken near the scene of the deadly shooting the evening of Feb. 20. A car passenger took video of the scene just before an ambulance arrived, he said.
Near the end of the 45-second video, Ruben García can be seen lying on his back, several feet behind a car and in front of a police car. Officers can be seen standing nearby and walking away. García died hours later at a Fort Worth hospital.
García, 31, a Mexican national living in North Richland Hills, was shot twice in the chest by officer Robert Clark at about 6:30 p.m. on the Texas 121 service road just inside Euless after a brief pursuit, police have said.
Domingo García’s Facebook post says the video “shows our client laying there helpless bleeding to death, no 1st aid being administered and we find is hard to believe no attention whatsoever is being given to him as officers stand around.”
Star-Telegram media partner WFAA obtained the video Friday and showed it to Euless police Lt. Eric Starnes, who said in a news release that “we had no prior knowledge of this video.”
“Mr. Villalpando was alive and breathing while the officers were present and there was no major external hemorrhaging,” the release says. “All of our officers are trained in CPR and also provided with combat tourniquets and blood clotting gauze. Because Mr. Villalpando was still breathing, CPR was not necessary; and because he was not hemorrhaging blood, the gauze was not necessary.”
The release says sirens heard in the video are coming from an arriving ambulance.
“Around the 38-second mark you can see officers walk away from Mr. Villalpando. … [They] were looking to bring the ambulance into the direct area where it was needed,” the release says.
“The video is slightly deceiving from the lighting effects; there was an officer that remained vigilant over Mr. Villalpando at the corner of the squad car.”
Just before the incident, Ruben García’s car fled what had been a possible burglary scene, Grapevine police have said. After he pulled over and got out of the vehicle, he and Clark got into an “altercation” before García, who was later found to be unarmed, was shot.
He was pronounced dead at 12:06 a.m. at John Peter Smith Hospital.
A Euless woman told reporters Thursday that she saw García lying unattended on a grassy median.
Patricia Murphy, who moved to Euless from Chicago seven months ago, spoke at Domingo García’s Dallas law office.
Starnes said Murphy’s account doesn’t match video evidence.
“We’ll put her name in the report, but everything she said was a mismatch,” he said.
He confirmed that Murphy was one of 28 witnesses interviewed by detectives.
Relatives who were shown dash-cam footage from that evening have said Clark shouted profanities at Ruben 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 Grapevine department initially said it would release the video to the public but later said the Tarrant County district attorney’s office advised investigators not to.
The Mexican government has condemned the shooting, and protests have occurred in downtown Grapevine each of the past two Tuesdays. More protests are planned until 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.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Mark David Smith, 817-390-7808