College football player killed by police in Texas; allegedly crashed car into dealership

Posted at 2:58 PM, Aug 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-08 16:58:43-04
By Michael Martinez and Joe Sutton


(CNN) — An unarmed Texas college football player was fatally shot by police after he allegedly drove a vehicle through the glass doors of a car dealership in the middle of the night in Arlington, authorities said.

Christian Taylor, 19, played defensive back at Angelo State University, according to the team website. Last year’s roster listed him as a 5-foot-9, 180-pound freshman.

A rookie police officer, Brad Miller, 49, who graduated from the police academy in March, shot Taylor and is now on routine administrative leave as authorities investigate the shooting, Arlington police said.

Taylor’s father said while it appears his son did wrong, he shouldn’t have had to die.

‘Unarmed…and you shoot to kill?’

“What he’d done, ain’t no way right,” Adrian Taylor told CNN affiliate KTVT. “But to shoot an unarmed man? You’re a police officer, you’re trained to take down men with your hands. You have your Tasers, you have your clubs, whatever there is. Unarmed, a 19-year-old — and you shoot to kill?”

Christian Taylor had “no real problems,” his father added. He said his often gave a helping hand to the homeless.

“A good dude, man,” the father told the station. “We’d be going over here to church and he’d pull over and give a homeless guy money, shoes if he needed and he’d have to go back home and get some more shoes because he gave his away. He was like that.”

The father didn’t know what could have prompted his son to allegedly drive his SUV into the dealership.

“You know, it could have been too much drinking, he could have been wrong place at the wrong time, he could have gotten something and he didn’t know what he was getting,” the father told the affiliate. “I don’t know.”

Police pledged a thorough investigation.

“The department is sad for the loss of this life,” Arlington Police Department spokesman Sgt. Paul Rodriguez told the affiliate. “And we are committed to providing our community that we serve a clear and transparent investigation. We will hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards of policing.”

No body cam, no shooting video yet

Miller wasn’t wearing a body camera because the department doesn’t yet use them, police said. The police department “is in the process of implementing a pilot program for body worn camera use,” authorities said in a statement.

However, the car dealership has surveillance video, and police were trying to gather all available video, authorities said.

“At this time, investigators have not located any video capturing the shooting,” police said.

A security company called 911 after it saw the suspect on camera outside the dealership, police said.

Police responded to “a burglary call” at about 1 a.m. Friday and found a suspect inside the car dealership and “a vehicle had been driven through the front of the building,” police said.

“As officers confronted the suspect, there was an altercation during which at least one officer discharged his weapon. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene,” police said.

The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office identified the suspect as Taylor.

Miller had no previous police experience prior to joining the Arlington force in September 2014. He has been in field training and working under the supervision of a police training officer since graduating from the academy, authorities said.

Miller has no disciplinary history or commendations, the department said.

A school mourns

Angelo State University director of communications Becky Brackin said the school had no details on the incident, “but our condolences go out to his family and friends,” Brackin said.

The football team acknowledged Taylor’s death on its Twitter page.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Christian Taylor. Your presence will be missed, but not forgotten,” the Angelo State University Ram football team tweeted.

CNN’s Christopher Lett contributed to this report.