A police shooting sent an unarmed man named Michael Paul Walker to the hospital in stable condition Saturday evening, after officers were placed, they said, in fear for their lives when Walker inexplicably failed to comply with their commands.
Walker, 38, was in the passenger seat of a car that had been pulled over for an illegal lane change into the parking lot of a convenience store at Buffalo Speedway and West Fuqua in Houston.
Houston officers said that Walker failed to obey their orders to stay in the car, and when they saw him reaching under the front seat of the car, with his arm halfway under the seat, they shot him.
The shots did not stop Walker, however. He proceeded to get out of the car and walk around the vehicle, pulling his shirt off. A second officer then shot Walker as well.
“When I was about to walk into the store, I heard gunshots, so immediately I turned around and grabbed my son and got us both on the ground,” eyewitness Laquesha Spencer told Houston’s Channel 2 TV News. “I’m telling (him) ‘Lay down, they are going to shoot you. They are going to kill you.’ And I guess he was in shock, he had already been shot three times, because I heard multiple gunshots.”
Police arrested the driver, though it is unclear on what charges he was arrested. They impounded the vehicle and searched for weapons, though whether they found any has not been announced either.
Walker’s mother, Laura Walker, also said that the police gave her very little information about the shooting. She tried to visit her wounded son at Ben Traub Hospital, but was not allowed by police into his room.
But she said that Michael Walker was unarmed and in fact, never even owned a gun.
“I was there ’till about 5 a.m. this morning. They have a police officer in his room and they won’t let me in there,” said Laura Walker, 53. “He didn’t even have a gun. He’s never owned a weapon. He didn’t have one on him.”
According to a Houston Police spokesperson Victor Senties, the officers opened fire on the unarmed man because they feared for their lives.
“They saw the doors open up, one of the officers gave repeated verbal commands to stay inside the vehicle, then the officer went to brace the door to keep him inside,. At one point, he had his arm all the way under the seat, right up to the elbow, as if he was trying to grab something,” said Senties. “The officer gave him commands to show his hands. At that point, the officer was in fear of his life and that of his partner.”
The second officer also “feared for his safety,” Senties said, when Walker began walking in the vicinity of the vehicle after already having been shot, leading to the second shooting of the apparently unarmed man. The shooting follows several other recent shootings of unarmed men by police that have sparked protests nationwide.