HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - Marcelo Garcia’s mom told FOX 26 he was living with her while battling through mental illness, and she shed a little light on his condition in the days leading up to the deadly confrontation with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
"I miss my son," Mary Garcia said tearfully after returning home from running errands with her son’s three small daughters in the back seat.
A day after losing her son in a deadly confrontation with a deputy, Garcia recalls how her family would frequently call on law enforcement for help when he became difficult due to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
"We looking for help," said Garcia. "We not looking for them to kill him."
She says law enforcement had already been to their house three times in the month of April. The last time he was taken to a hospital, where he spent three days. His mom says he was placed on new medication for his mental health before returning home. That was just days before his confrontation with a deputy that ended his life.
"I’m sorry for them," Garcia said tearfully. "Why they do that? It’s very painful."
Sheriff’s deputies say Marcelo Garcia’s knife was still in his hand when the deputy shot him. They say the deputy made commands to drop the knife and tried to deploy a taser without success before shooting him.
"No knife," said his mom. "It’s not true 100%, because I saw everything in the videos."
FOX 26 is working to obtain surveillance video and deputy body cam video that would show exactly what happened. Meanwhile, Garcia’s family claims he was unarmed and plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Garcia’s mom says the morning he died he had been scheduled to go to the doctor again to check in about how his medicine was working.
"I don’t say the cop is not good police," said Garcia. "It’s a good police, but the training is not- he’s not training for mental health."
The deputy who shot and killed Marcelo Garcia had seven months with the department, and all deputies have 40 hours of mental health incident training, according to the sheriff’s office.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez stated on Twitter Thursday evening, "On Wednesday morning, a sheriff’s deputy encountered a man with a knife in the midst of a mental health crisis. Tragically, the encounter ended in the man’s death and now his family is grieving their loss. I share in that grief. I also understand the community expects a thorough and transparent investigation. I’m committed to doing that. We will release body camera video as soon as we’re able to do so without hindering the investigation."
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is conducting an independent investigation and will present evidence to a grand jury to determine whether lethal force was warranted.