In case you aren’t up on the story, last Saturday afternoon, May 12th, Houston Police Officer K.R. Barnes responded to a robbery call at a southwest Houston apartment complex. Two women said they had been robbed at gunpoint by a man half an hour earlier. In a moment of bad luck Alex Macario Rivera happens to ride by on a bike while the officer is interviewing the women, one of which promptly identifies him. So, Officer Barnes chases the guy down and somehow ends up in front of the guy. Rivera rounds a corner and runs past Officer Barnes, who then draws his weapon and fires two shots, with one bullet striking Rivera’s back. Surveillance video captured the end of this whole ordeal.
Officer Barnes says the guy had a gun drawn, and in some earlier reports, that he pointed his gun at the officer. They did, in fact, find a .38 cal next to Rivera’s pocket, though the video doesnt show whether he actually had it in his hand or not. Turns out that Alex Macario Rivera is a documented Crips gang member.
This event has been painted all kinds of ways in the past week: “The officer shot the guy in the back, he’s wrong!” and “The guy was bad, he deserved it!” being two of the loudest sentiments.
Unless you happen to be a Crip member yourself, I think we can all agree that guys like that probably aren’t the kind you want running around on the street. However, Officer Barnes wasn’t privy to that information when he shot. And remember, he did shoot the Rivera in the back, not exactly a threatening position. Then again, police officers are supposed to make those kind of split second decisions; decisions that decide whether or not someone lives or dies.
Did the officer do the right thing? Did he react too quickly? Would this have been a nice time to use his taser, as opposed to using it on kids or child-holding parents? What do you think?