GARLAND, TEXAS – Investigators are trying to piece together what happened after a 30-minute high-speed chase in Texas ended with a police officer allegedly shooting at a possibly unarmed suspect 41 times.
The Dallas Morning News reports that officer Patrick Tuter of the Garland Police Department is currently on restricted duty following the late August incident, in which he allegedly rammed his car into Michael Vincent Allen’s truck before pulling out a semiautomatic weapon and firing off 41 rounds.
Allen was killed, but his girlfriend — who is said to have been in the truck at the time — came out unharmed. Allen was reportedly being sought by police for having eluded arrest three days earlier.
According to the Associated Press, earlier reports stated Allen rammed his truck into Tuter’s cruiser, but police officials are now backing away from that account since dash-cam footage shows otherwise.
Tuter’s lawyer confirmed to the Dallas Morning News that his client did to stop and reload his weapon during the shooting. Tuter allegedly feared for his life and believed that Allen was armed.
A witness told the news outlet he was awakened by the shots and took pictures and video of what unfolded on his cell phone. However, the man claims the Mesquite police took his phone and deleted the footage before returning the device four days later.
The Associated Press reports investigators did obtain a court order to confiscate a memory chip from a cell phone with footage of the incident.
According to NBC 5 News, Joe Harn, a spokesman for the police department, said the department is being transparent regarding to the details about the shooting.
“First of all, we hope and we want the public to know that we’re going to do our thing,” Harn told the station. “We’re going to do our investigation correctly. We could sit on this and try to hide it, but we’re not — we’re going to do a good and complete, thorough investigation.”
There are currently two ongoing investigations surrounding the incident: The Mesquite Police Department is handling a criminal investigation, while the Internal Affairs Division of the Garland Police is looking into whether Tuter violated department policy.
Still, Allen’s parents told a local CBS affiliate they didn’t understand how so many shots could have been fired.
“I don’t understand what kind of rage he had or hate he had. But to me, it seems like he had to, there was something else there that me and you don’t know,” Randy Allen, the father of the suspect, told CBS.
Although their son had previous run-ins with the law for drug possession and evading the police, Allen’s parents told CBS he was a well-liked person and a father of a 4-year-old girl. The family also said they have not received an apology from the police.