The Bastrop County Sherriff’s Office retracted the initial statement issued after the shooting that claimed the victim, Yvette Smith, had a gun when officers fatally shot her on Sunday.
Officials initially said that 48-year-old Smith answered the door with a firearm in her hand when police officers responded to calls about Smith’s boyfriend and his son, who were arguing about a gun that was at another location.
The original statement claimed that Deputy Daniel Willis shot Smith after she continued to disobey orders, but now that neighbors are speaking out and an investigation has begun, police were forced to issue another statement.
A second statement to the press revealed that the police were never able to confirm that Smith had a gun in her hand, nor was a gun located at the scene.
Willie Thomas, the owner of the home where Smith was shot, said authorities overreacted.
“All I can tell you is that they overreacted,” he said. “She didn’t have the chance to get out the door.”
“If I come out with a gun that doesn’t give him the right to shoot me,” said Julio Cesar Chavez, a neighbor. “He needs to give me some type of warning … throw it away or something.”
Another neighbor, Joe Martinez, was shocked that such an incident occurred in his neighborhood.
“The owner there said there are not weapons there and I believe him because they are not that type of people,” Martinez said. “They’re mainly calm … I mean the whole neighborhood is calm. This is the first time this has ever happened.”
In the low-income neighborhood, some people began questioning whether socioeconomic status or race played a role in the shooting.
“If they had went to Hunters Crossing or Tahitian Village or a nicer subdivision, they wouldn’t have been so hostile,” said Anthony Bell, Smith’s 25-year-old son.
Bastrop County officers have remained mum on the incident since they retracted the initial statement.
Texas Rangers will be assisting in further investigations.
Willis has been put under administrative leave.
Unfortunately, the shootings of unarmed African-Americans by police officers have become more common nationwide in recent years.
Jonathan Ferrell was shot and killed about five months ago by officers in North Carolina, and officers in Miami-Dade County sparked major controversy last summer after two unarmed Black men were shot and killed by police.