EULESS (CBSDFW.COM) – Shot by police and left to die. A woman says that’s what happened to a father of four who died after being shot by a Grapevine police officer. Police are already countering her story – calling it “absolutely false.”
The controversy centers on the incident involving Grapevine police Officer Robert Clark and Ruben Garcia Villalpando. Officer Clark was responding to a burglar alarm on February 20 when he says he spotted Villalpando’s car. When the 31-year-old driver didn’t pull over a chase began. That chase ended miles away and with Villalpando being shot and killed.
Since the shooting started in Euless police there are handling the investigation.
Driver Patricia Murphy lives in Euless and says what she saw last month isn’t what she would expect from a police officer. Murphy admits she did not witness the shooting, but says she saw the body of Mr. Villalpando on the side of the road.
Murphy said she thought the man laying motionless needed help, but she didn’t have a cell phone to call 911. She said it wasn’t until later that she learned it was a police shooting.
Murphy also claims that when she drove by there were no police officers at the scene.
“Why didn’t the policeman stand by the scene until more people arrived?” Murphy questioned at a Thursday press conference. “There was just a dead body lying on the ground.”
Family members who have seen police dash cam video claim Villalpando had his hands up in the air and was not armed.
Attorney Domingo Garcia represents the Villalpando family and he believes he knows exactly what happened. “If you shoot an unarmed man, with his hands in the air and you’re in a different jurisdiction… you’re not in Grapevine, you’re in Euless. I think the officer panicked and left.”
Euless police said they have questioned 28 people who were on or near State Highway 121 when the shooting happened February 20, and they are waiting to talk to one more witness.
The agency overseeing the investigation issued the following statement:
“On this date Domingo Garcia attorney for the family of Ruben Villalpando held a press conference bringing forth a person identified as Patricia Murphy as a witness to the event on February 20th, 2015.
This is a person we have talked with over the phone. We placed her name into our report and synopsis of her testimony for follow up. I want to address one point that has been relayed to us from Ms. Murphy’s statement. The statement that has been relayed is that Mr. Villilpando was left in the road alone. I will not speak to the investigation, but I will assure the public that Mr. Villalpando was not left alone after he went down. At least one officer stayed with him until advanced life support arrived.”
– Lt. Eric Starnes #277
Criminal Investigation Division
Euless Police Department
Lieutenant Starnes also said the shooting is now part of a grand jury investigation and that officials are waiting for medical and laboratory test results before turning evidence over to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office.
Since the shooting Attorney Garcia and the Villalpando family have held protests and continued their demand that the dash cam video be released. Starnes says the Tarrant County District Attorney will decide when to release the video.
Garcia and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) are threatening to take legal action.
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