On Thursday, city officials released the in-car video from last month's deadly shooting involving two Lubbock police officers. The DA's office says the tapes indicate the officers were justified, despite the fact that the victim was holding a fake gun.
The tape isn't the best quality, but it shows what happened on that Friday afternoon. 19-year-old Michael De La Rosa is walking, dressed in all black and then suddenly turns and points what appears to be a gun at the officers. Officers Chris Hennsley and Brad McMahan then fire nine rounds. At least three hit De La Rosa, including a fatal wound to the chest.
NewsChannel 11 watched the tape with former police officer and current councilman Tom Martin and Mayor Marc McDougal who both agree the officers were left with no other choice. "It's unfortunate, and something you hate to see, but certainly after looking at the tape, our officers were left with no options," says Mayor McDougal.
"You do not have time to engage in a long debate over the merits of dropping your weapon. That officer is not expected to give the suspect the first shot," says Councilman Martin.
Since the shooting we've heard from at least a half-dozen eyewitnesses, all with their versions of what happened, but now the in-car video paints a much more vivid picture of exactly what happened.
De La Rosa's gun turned out to be fake, but very realistic, a full-sized replica of a semi-automatic. De La Rosa had a history of mental illness, but it's still unclear what he was doing that day, in that neighborhood with a fake gun.
The police department has reinstated both officers who are both undergoing stress counseling, something that hasn't always been available to police officers. "I guess there was a macho attitude that if you cried, if you showed emotion you were less than macho. Fortunately, law enforcement has given that up and realized police officers are human beings," says Councilman Martin.
The grand jury will hear this case next week, but the tape was released on Thursday reportedly because the De La Rosa family has already seen it.
The DA's office has indicated to police that it believes the tape clears officers Hennsley and McMahan of any and all wrong-doing.