The family of a man they say was shot by a Killeen police officer during a traffic stop Tuesday has spoken out on his condition and their side of the events that took place.
Jessica Hunter said her husband, Paris Hunter, 29, was hit by an officer’s bullet and was suffering from very life-threatening injuries. “His heart was pierced, his lungs, his diaphragm and an artery, so he lost a lot of blood. He went to major surgery for about five hours and when he came out he was in a medically induced coma,” Jessica Hunter said.
The police news release Wednesday said an officer’s gun discharged during a traffic stop and that a man was injured. Police did not specify whether the man was shot, only that he was injured. The Texas Rangers are investigating the case, but declined to provide that information.
In the Wednesday news release, police said a motorist was stopped by an officer with the Killeen Police Department around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday night near Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Conder Street.
During the stop, the officer noticed two occupants in the vehicle and suspected narcotics, according to the release.
Police said the driver repeatedly failed to comply with officer commands to show his hands, and the officer requested immediate assistance, according to the news release.
As the situation progressed, the driver appeared to try to exit the vehicle, opening the door into the officer, who pushed the door closed, according to the release.
“As the situation continued to develop, the officer discharged his weapon,” the release said.
Jessica Hunter and Paris Hunter’s mother Vera Hunter were not at the incident but relayed what they said Paris Hunter told them after he woke up from the medically induced coma.
Jessica Hunter said Paris Hunter was pulled over because the officer could not see the temporary registration on the back of his vehicle. She said the officer probably could see it but one side of the registration was loose.
The officer asked for the license and registration and Paris Hunter gave it to them and said, “what you pulling me over for?” The officer told him it was because of his registration and he said, “that’s bull---- because you can see my tags like it’s not expired or anything,” according to Jessica. The police said to put his hands on the steering wheel and he said, “for what? It’s just a routine traffic stop. What do I need to put my hands on the steering wheel for?”
The officer unbuckled his belt and Paris Hunter asked what he was doing all that for. The officer pulled his gun and told Paris Hunter to put his hands on the steering wheel and Jessica Hunter said her husband said it was ridiculous and wondered why the cop was doing all that. But he put his hands on the steering wheel and the officer just shot him, according to Jessica Hunter.
Jessica Hunter said her husband never tried to get out of the car like the news release from the police described.
Vera Hunter said she doesn’t know what a car looks like with narcotics in it. The police have not talked to her but she has talked to her son.
“I don’t know what they want from us as black people, as human beings, to get shot from behind. Now, if I’m fighting you, and you can’t resist, I’ve got a weapon in my hand or something I understand that,” Vera Hunter said. “I’ve got five sons and I teach my boys, look you’re already black, No. 1. If the police stop you, put your hands up. They can’t tell me Paris resisted.”
Vera Hunter believes that her son was done wrong.
“I am taking action, the fullest action against the Killeen Police Department because they didn’t just hurt a black boy, they shot my son, they broke his collar bone, the bullet went through his heart and through his lungs; he’s laid up in a hospital room right now suffering,” she said.
Vera and Jessica Hunter spoke highly of Paris as a person.
“Everybody’s got their backgrounds, I have one and so do you, but Paris is not a bad person and I can get 1,000 people to tell you the same thing,” Vera said. “Paris is a good human being and I’m not just saying that because that’s my son, that’s who he is.”
Jessica and Paris Hunter have four children and she is pregnant with a fifth.
“He’s a very good person,” Jessica Hunter said. “I don’t see why they would have expected narcotics, I mean he has a prior history of getting in trouble but it’s been a long time since he’s done anything, like he’s not on that path anymore.”