A Boy Shot By Police in Stafford Leads to a Federal Lawsuit
by: Rod Rice, October 15, 2009 8:10:28 pm
It began in February when Pam and Steve Hobart became concerned about their 19-year-old son Aaron's
deteriorating mental health. Mrs. Hobart says she called her son's psychiatrist.
"He is the one who told us to call 9-1-1, request a Crisis Intervention Team and that they would help us transport our son to a psychiatric hospital. And that is what I did. I was never told that they did not have a Crisis Intervention Team and that they were going to send any officer in the area."
Stafford Police Officer Jesus Estrada responded to the call. The Hobart's say when Aaron, wearing only shorts and t-shirt tried to run past the officer they had a brief physical confrontation.
Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project picks up the story.
"Even though Mrs. Hobart tried to stop it the officer shot their son in front of them. He fell to the floor and then after that he fired five more bullets and finally, the last shot through the neck is what killed their son."
The lawsuit claims officer Estrada had no CIT training and had other non-lethal options that he did not use.
Stafford Police released a statement saying they were called because Aaron Hobart was a danger to himself and others and that his parents could not control his unpredictable and violent behavior. The statement says it was the violent attack on officer Estrada seconds after entering the home that lead to the shooting.
Estrada was not charged. He was no billed by a Ft. Bend County Grand Jury.
Jim Harrington says this suit is also a message to other communities that it is imperative to train police officers how to handle citizens suffering with a mental health crisis.
Rod Rice, KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.