A 19 year old unarmed college football player, Christian Taylor, suspected of driving a car through through the window of a car dealership in an effort to commit burglary, was shot dead by a Texas police officer on Friday, authorities announced on Saturday.
The death of Taylor came when the country was bracing for protests on the first anniversary of the death of an 18-year-old black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot dead while unarmed by a white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, on August 9, 2014.
Taylor, a sophomore football player at Angelo State University, was shot by police officer Brad Miller at around 1 am at the Classic Buick GMC building in Arlington, US, after he had allegedly driven his car through the gate of a car dealership, damaging a car in the parking lot.
Police arrived at the scene after the dealership's security company called 911 to file a burglary report, while Taylor allegedly got back inside his car and drove it through the window of the dealership.
Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Rodriguez told the Star-Telegram that police confronted Taylor inside the dealership but a quarrel between the police officers and Taylor led to the discharging of officer Miller’s weapon.
The burglary suspect was unarmed at the time he was shot.
“The officers went and confronted him. There was an altercation. An officer discharged his weapon and struck the suspect,” Rodriguez said.
According to the Tarrant County medical examiner's office, Taylor died at the scene.
The Star-Telegram reported that Taylor was sentenced to six months of probation in December, charged on using a controlled substance, but his case was dismissed last month after he completed probation in June.
Two weeks after, he tweeted:
I don't wanna die too younggggg
— October 13th (@he_got_sneaks) July 31, 2015
Local sources announced that police officer Brad Miller, 49, joined the department last year and was in field training under the supervision of a police training officer before the incident took place.
“The preservation of life and safety is our highest priority. The Arlington Police Department is saddened by this loss of life and will provide the community a clear and transparent investigation," Arlington Police Department said in a statement.
A string of killings of unarmed black men in the US led to widespread protests across the US since last year including major cities such as New York, Chicago and Baltimore. and brought the issue of race and police brutality to the attention of public.
Death of Taylor also caused reaction on social media as many people including celebrities and athletes tweeted on the issue.
Really??????!!!!!!!!!!? are we all sleeping and this is one gigantic bad nightmare? #ChristianTaylor how many hashtags now?
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) August 8, 2015