Hundreds attended the funeral service for 19-year-old Christian Taylor on Saturday. Taylor was gunned down by a Texas police officer during a burglary at a car dealership, reported NBC News. On August 7, the Angelo State University football player was caught on surveillance driving his vehicle to a car dealership.
A 911 call was made to dispatch after Taylor was seen displaying erratic behavior by vandalizing a vehicle on the lot, kicking the windshield in before driving his own car into the showroom. When Arlington police officer Brad Miller and his field training officer arrived at the Classic Buick GMC dealership, they instructed the unarmed teen to get on floor, but he wasn’t compliant. However, the claims cannot be proven as surveillance footage did not capture the confrontation inside of the edifice.
Within minutes, Miller was heard over his radio saying, “We’ve got shots fired!” The Arlington officer shot the unarmed teen four times, striking him in the neck, chest, and abdomen – he died as a result of his injuries, according to the International Business Times.
Officer Dale Wiggins, who was at the scene, claims to have witnessed Officer Miller walking aggressively at the teen while in the showroom, but no physical contact was ever made. The next thing he heard was a loud pop, which he believed to be the officer’s taser, but it was his gun. Seconds later he saw Miller shoot three more times. The officer later claimed that he thought the teen had a gun, but it turned out to be a cell-phone.
After the shooting death of Christian Taylor, Police Chief Will Johnson fired Officer Miller the following Tuesday, claiming that the officer exercised “poor judgement” and his decision to use deadly force in lieu of “communicating with fellow officers” led to an “environment of cascading consequences.”
Taylor’s family and friends were not only heartbroken and shocked that he had been killed by a police officer, but by his erratic behavior that fateful morning. When they watched the surveillance footage, neighbor Billy Gipson who attended the funeral said that “The person you see on TV isn’t the individual I knew.” He went on to say that Taylor was “a modest kid who had a promising future.”
Despite his unusual behavior at the car dealership, Rev. Ronnie Goines who is the senior pastor at Koinonia Christian Church where Taylor attended spoke highly of his character at his funereal. He said all Taylor talked about within the last two months was “helping young people meet Jesus.”
Both Arlington’s mayor and the police chief attended the teen’s funeral and has since launched a criminal investigation in the shooting death of Christian Taylor.
[Image via YouTube Screen Capture]