Video of an unarmed black man being shot dead by a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy in Houston, Texas was published Friday, a day after the shooting. The Houston Police Department confirmed there were no weapons found at the scene.
At about 1 p.m. Thursday, an unidentified deputy fired one shot at 34-year-old Danny Ray Thomas, who was walking in the middle of Imperial Valley Road and Greens Road with his pants around his ankles, reports the Houston Chronicle.
According to Houston police, witnesses reported he was "talking to himself and hitting vehicles as they passed by."
"Thomas then struck a white vehicle, and the driver exited and engaged in a physical altercation with the suspect," police said in a statement Friday. Thomas ignored the deputy's commands and "continued to advance."
"Fearing for his safety, the deputy discharged his duty weapon, striking Thomas once in the chest," the HPD, which is leading the investigation, said.
A department spokesman previously told the Chronicle that Thomas had "some object" in his hand, but police later said no weapon was found.
The Chronicle obtained a video from witness Kaaryn Young, which captures the moment Thomas was shot. In the video, Young can be heard repeatedly asking, "Why he shoot him? Why he shoot him? Why he shoot that man?" She wondered why the man was not tasered instead.
Family members told the Chronicle that Thomas was the father of two children who died in 2016 when their mother allegedly drowned them in a bathtub.
His sister, Marketa Thomas, told local reporters that she thought there was "no justification" for Thomas' death.
"Knowing that he was OK when I woke up every day made me fine," she told reporters at the scene. "And knowing that my brother is no longer here - you think I'm going to be fine? I'm not going to be fine. That's my brother."
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez offered his condolences to the family.
"Our condolences go to the family of this individual," Gonzalez said. "Obviously they're someone's loved one. These situations are always difficult and so the main thing we can do is to make sure that we get the facts and that we're thorough and transparent."
On Sunday, the American Civil Liberties Union demanded that the name of the deputy who shot Thomas be released.
"It's difficult to imagine how this shooting could possibly be justified. We must demand that our law enforcement agencies, who are sworn to protect our communities, be held accountable whenever deadly force is used unlawfully," Sharon Watkins-Jones, director of political strategies of the ACLU of Texas, told the Chronicle. "But whatever the excuse, another unarmed black man has been killed by law enforcement, in the street and in broad daylight, and the only reason we know about it is because of bystander footage."0comments
Last week in Seattle, another unarmed black man was killed by officers. Stephon Clark was killed in his grandparents' backyard while carrying a cell phone. Police said they were responding to a report of broken windows and thought Clark's phone looked like a gun.
Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle Video