Harlingen Police Chief Speaks Out On Shooting
POSTED: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 6:09pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 12:33pm
In Harlingen, a routine traffic stops leads officers on a high speed chase. Then an officer is forced to open fire, after the man behind the wheel refused to stop and tried to run him over.
Police Chief, Danny Castillo speaks out on his officers decision to open fire.
Chief Castillo says,the officer who shot at the suspect's vehicle will not face any kind of disciplinary action, because it was a matter of life or death.
"The officers feared for their lives, in defense of their lives, they discharged their weapons."
He says his officer, had every right to shoot.
"If an officer is placed in that kind of situation they have every right to protect themselves."
Police say, the incident, over the weekend, all began, when two officers tried to make a traffic stop on South P. Street.
The driver, of the vehicle, 29-year old, Joe Edward Tapia did not stop.
That's when he led cops on a high speed chase, then crashing his car into this fence at the intersection of Lincoln and P streets.
What happened next, is why police say, the officer decided to shoot.
"The vehicle in turn, accelarated towards the officer and during the course of the actions there, the officers feared for their lives."
Chief Castillo says, "You're not supposed to run over a cop."
Police say, the officer shot at the suspect's car four times...and the chase continued, until they finally caught Tapia, on Business 83 in the La Feria area.
Tapia is now being charged with aggravated assault, and evading arrest.
His bond is set at 50 thousand dollars.
Police say, with this incident, there's a lesson to be learned.
"If you get stopped by an officer you duty as a citizen is to comply with those orders."
The investigation is on-going, and a complete report will be sent to the Cameron County District Attorney's office.