The Longview, Texas, community continues to reel from the startling death of 17-year-old Kristiana Coignard at the hands of local police.
Barricades have been placed in front of the Longview Police Department in anticipation of violent protest related to the fatal shooting of Kristiana. Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano stated that courthouse and sheriff’s office was closed to traffic.
“The sheriff has taken measures to ensure the safety and security of the courthouse and his office, as well as the staff and inmates at the jail.”
As police work to prepare for increasing protest in response to the controversial shooting, it’s being reported that the parents of Kristiana Goddard have retained the services of a law firm. Attorney Tim Maloney will be representing the Coignard family. Kristiana Coignard’s parents are expected to hold a press conference on Monday.
In the days ahead of the planned presser, local law enforcement are preparing for the worst as hundreds of angered citizens intend to take to the streets of Longview in protest of the death of Kristiana Coignard.
The teenager reportedly arrived in the late hours of January 22 and called for help on the after-hours phone. When officers arrived at the lobby where Kristiana was waiting, she allegedly informed them that she was carrying a gun.
Officer Glenn Derr then engaged Coignard. During their physical altercation, the officer learned that the teen was carrying a large butcher knife. Although Coignard was tased multiple times, it reportedly had no effect on her. At this point, she was shot multiple times by Derr and Officer Grace Bagley.
The incident stunned members of the public, as citizens struggled to understand how three trained officers could have trouble safely subduing Kristiana Coignard without immediately opting to fatally shooting. When the footage of the incident was released to the public on January 28, outrage only grew.
The family members of Kristiana Coignard revealed that she had suffered from multiple mental health issues ever since she lost her mother at a young age.
Her uncle left a comment on the Longview Police Department Facebook asking others to refrain from harshly criticizing his niece.
“I am the uncle of Kristiana, for quite a few years my niece suffered from mental illness. It hurt to see all the comments said about her. They didn’t know that she had these problems, seeing her berated by quite a few people has hurt me and my family. I please ask that you pray for my family and not judge her for what she had done. She is now in a better place with her mother. Thank You.”
As supporters of Kristiana Coignard and her family continue to harshly criticize the LPD, the sheriff has asked that any protests be kept peaceful. He also required that pro-police protesters “stay home and pray” rather than risk conflict with “anti-police” protesters.
[Image Credit: In Loving Memory of Kristiana Coignard]