***Scroll down for updates***
It seems that everyone who knew 23-year-old college student Robert Cameron Redus thought very highly of him. He was an extremely good friend and student, even making the Dean’s List at the University of the Incarnate Word in 2013. He was also the co-valedictorian of his high school.
So when the news that Cameron had been shot and killed by a university police officer spread around the Alamo Heights campus, there’s no doubt his friends and family were shocked. What could he have done that would justify being shot five times?
There are conflicting reports to what happened that night, and the Alamo Heights Police Department, along with the Texas Rangers, are currently investigating.
Facts of the Case
The fact as we know them are:
- During the early morning hours on Friday, December 6, Cpl. Christopher Carter, a police officer with the University of the Incarnate Word, witnessed a car driving erratically and decided to pull him over.
- He followed the car to an apartment complex to confront the driver.
- Carter mistakenly gave the wrong address to dispatch, and so his call was routed incorrectly, causing a delay in police officer response time.
- The driver, Cameron Redus, got out of his car and some sort of struggle between Cameron and Carter ensued.
- Carter took out his gun and shot Cameron five times, including in the chest and in the eye.
University Police Statement
The University has released a statement, saying, in part:
“During the wait for assistance, the officer tried to restrain the suspect who repeatedly resisted…During the struggle, the officer attempted to subdue the suspect with his baton…The baton was taken by the suspect who used it to hit the officer…”
“The officer drew his firearm and was able to knock the baton from the suspect who continued to resist arrest. Shots were fired.”
University police do not carry tasers.
Both the Alamo Heights Police Department and the Texas Rangers are investigating the incident. The Bexar County District Attorney’s office has also been brought in to oversee the case.
Although there is no dashboard video available (University police say it fell off the vehicle the night before), according to the AHPD, they have a six-minute video of the incident, recorded from the rear of Carter’s police truck. The video shows Cameron walking to his apartment even though the police truck lights were on. Carter then tells Cameron to put his hands on the truck, when a struggle over the baton ensues.
The AHPD says that Carter instructed Cameron 14 times to place his hands behind his back, informed him three times that he was under arrest, and to stop resisting 56 times.
Cameron was then shot five times with a .40 caliber handgun.
A resident of Cameron’s apartment complex, 22-year-old Mohammad Haidarasl, told reporters that he was at home on his sofa at 2 AM, when he heard noise outside. He heard what he believes to have been an officer’s voice saying, “Stop resisting, stop resisting.”
Haidarasl said he thought he heard a struggle and then heard the cop say, “I’m going to shoot.”
He then heard a male voice say, “Oh, you’re gonna shoot me?” in a sarcastic tone.
Less than a minute later, he heard shots.
Cameron’s family released a statement, following his death:
“We are understandably devastated by the death of our dear son Cameron and we ask for your prayers as we deal with our tragic loss. We trust that God is faithful and will see us through this most difficult time.”
A student vigil was held on Saturday night on campus, and hundreds of students showed up to honor Cameron.
Cameron was due to graduate in May.
Carter, who reportedly has “an extensive law enforcement background” has been placed on administrative leave, which is normal protocol for this type of situation.
So was the shooting justified? Did the officer truly believe that his life was in danger, enough to shoot him 5 times? I’ve heard both sides of this, and I’d like to hear yours.
UPDATE: 3/16/14 10:10 AM
The University of the Incarnate Word reportedly has plans to reinstate Officer Carter in an administrative capacity as long as he isn’t indicted for the shooting.
Cameron’s father wrote an open letter to the university calling for changes in campus police policies and procedures. You can read excerpts from the letter in the link below.
UPDATE: 3/25/14 8:40 AM
The UIW Student President Jonathan Guadardo wrote an open letter Monday regarding the death of Cameron Redus. UIW Chancellor Denise Doyle also released a statement about Cameron’s death. You can read both HERE.
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