Teenager Luis Escobar was shot in the back three times by a Harris County sheriff's deputy during a traffic stop gone terribly wrong. And now, nearly a year and a half later, Escobar's family has decided to sue the officer and the county.
As is almost always the case when a cop shoots and kills someone, there appear to be two versions of the truth.
According to Escobar's mother, Delores, who filed the lawsuit in Harris County District Court, her 19-year-old son was driving along when a deputy attempted to pull him over. Escobar did not immediately stop, but soon came to a halt. The teen then decided to flee, and was running away from the deputy, unarmed, when the officer shot Escobar three times in the back, according to the lawsuit.
Delores Escobar claims that a second deputy raced over to her son after he fell to the ground and felt a faint pulse. The deputy then allegedly handcuffed Escobar and walked back over to Escobar's car. By the time an ambulance arrived, the teen was dead.
"We believe the sheriff's department without a doubt used excessive force," Escobar's attorney, David Paz, tells Hair Balls. "Mr. Escobar was shot three times in the back, running away, and was not a threat to anyone when he was shot."
Harris County sheriff's representatives did not respond to questions concerning what happened during the shooting. However, news reports at the time paint a slightly different picture.
A sheriff's spokesman has said that the deputy was trying to pull Escobar over for speeding, and that after a short chase, Escobar ran a red light and crashed into two other cars. When Escobar hopped out of the car, the sheriff's department has said, the deputy began to fear for his life and fired off four rounds. It's been reported that no officers were disciplined for the shooting.
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Paz says that he does not yet know why Escobar tried to run away from the deputy. He says Escobar did not have any illegal drugs on him, but was not aware of Escobar's nationality or residency status
Escobar had dropped out of high school, says Paz, to work at a fast-food joint to help support his family. His girlfriend was pregnant at the time of his death.
"He was a really good kid," says Paz. "More than anything, his mother just doesn't want this to happen to another kid."
Escobar's mother is suing the deputy and Harris County claiming excessive force and wrongful death.