Killeen, Texas (KWTX) – A witness who spoke with KWTX on Monday said he never felt threatened by the still-unnamed suspect, which led to a police chase that eventually ended in an officer-involved shooting.
The witness and Killeen Police Department Chief Charles Kimble said the suspect showed signs of mental illness.
On Sunday afternoon, Killeen resident Phil Patterson went to AutoZone on Veterans Memorial Boulevard to pick up some parts.
That’s where officers responded to a 911 call Monday about the still-unnamed suspect involved in the robbery, KPD said. The original release from the department said only that the suspect was seen “acting erratically outside of a white car” in the AutoZone parking lot.
In the parking lot, a suspicious Phil is approached. “He sounded like a veteran going through an episode,” Phil recalled. He never threatened “I’m going to kill everyone here” because we would have handled it differently.
The man asked Phil for a ride in his truck and he started saying things that didn’t add up.
“He said, ‘Hey man, I’ll give you a house in Harker Heights if you give me a ride to Temple to get my car,'” Phil said. “He was like, ‘I’m serious. I just have to go to the temple and the cartel is coming to take me away.’
At a press conference Sunday, Chief Kimble confirmed the suspect was a man with “mental health issues.”
“On the surface it looks like we’re dealing with someone who has some mental issues,” he said at the time. “He pointed a gun at himself and some police officers, at the same time, they were trying to get him to surrender.”
Phil could see the suspect’s gun cocked, but said at no point did he feel scared or threatened. A customer eventually came into the parking lot to tell Phil that he had left his credit card inside the AutoZone store.
“(The suspect) got out of the truck, I got out of the truck, and the cops walked up,” Phil recalled. “When I was walking in the store he said, ‘Don’t arrest me, don’t arrest me’. Then the cops drew their guns.
That’s when the suspect started running and eventually got into an unlocked police patrol car and started driving away.
Suspicious and running away, Phil went to a nearby friend’s house. He said police heard gunfire from there.
“I was sad that I couldn’t get him in the truck before it all happened because he looked like a guy having an episode,” he said.
Killeen police said Monday that “as officers continued to issue commands to the suspect to disarm and surrender, he began to drive away from the patrol unit” and “officers discharged their duty weapons and assaulted him.”
The police said that the condition of the accused is satisfactory.
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