Exclusive interview with family of man killed in officer - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Exclusive interview with family of man killed in officer-involved shooting

Posted: Updated:
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

An East Texas family is questioning a police officer's actions, which led to the shooting death of a family member. 

The shooting happened right around midnight on New Year's Eve in the 600 block of E. Queen St. in Tyler. 

Victor Fuentes, 22, was killed when police said, he aimed his gun at an officer. The family, however, in an exclusive interview said Fuentes did no such thing. 

"He was a good kid, he was family man, a father of three. How do you tell his kids that your dad is gone and he'll never be back" asked Victor's sister, Cristina Fuentes.  

This East Texas family is spending New Year's Day mourning the loss of Victor, his death caused by what his family believes to be a misunderstanding starting with the celebration of the new year.

"My brother and my dad as part of our Mexican culture: Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, you shoot a few rounds off just for freedom, for fun. You don't aim at anyone, you shoot at the ground. These five bullet holes on the ground are the bullets they shot," explained Cristina as she pointed to bullet holes in the ground. 

Tyler police say they are aware of this tradition and discourage it every year. 

"That's something that one, is against the law. It's  firing a firearm within the city limits- disorderly conduct. It's very dangerous," said Officer Don Martin with the Tyler Police Department.

Officer Martin said when Victor saw police, he attempted to run inside his home, but Officer Matt Riggle followed him to the door.

"The back door to the residence was open during the verbal confrontation of the officer demanding he drop his gun, again still not dropping it. The weapon was aimed at the officer so, he fired at him. Several rounds were fired and he was killed," Officer Martin said. 

However, Victor's father, who said he was in the room at the time, said his son never pointed his gun at Officer Riggle.

"No, that's not true," said Victor's father, Juan Fuentes. 

Meanwhile, Victor's family, including his wife and three children, said they sat in the next room over. 

"Hector saw him on the ground, saw his dad on the ground. He just kept saying, 'My daddy, my daddy, my daddy'" Cristina said. 

Victor's family believes the gun he was carrying was not loaded.

"The gun didn't even have any bullets in it. The gun had no bullets in it at all. Victor would have never shot a cop, never," Cristina explained. 

When asked if police could confirm there were no bullets in Victor's gun, they said they could not release that information at this time. 

Authorities tell KLTV Officer Riggle has been with the Tyler Police Department since 2008. Authorities said they are following protocol by placing him on paid administrative leave pending further investigation. 

Tyler Police said they are investigating possible gang associations with the residence. The Texas Rangers are also assisting in this investigation. 

Copyright 2012 KLTV. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Huge alligator snapping turtle set free

    Huge alligator snapping turtle set free

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 12:27 PM EDT2014-04-15 16:27:58 GMT
    There is good news for an alligator snapping turtle that was rescued from a drainage ditch a week ago. "Snappy," as the rescuers referred to the reptile, has been set free.More >>
    There is good news for an alligator snapping turtle that was rescued from a drainage ditch a week ago. "Snappy," as the rescuers referred to the reptile, has been set free.More >>
  • Fishermen say impacts still linger from BP oil spill

    Fishermen say impacts still linger from BP oil spill

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:52:06 GMT
    Against a backdrop of shrimp boats, Vietnamese fishermen held message boards, along with pictures of dead dolphins, turtles and tar balls. Four years later, the impact of the oil spill remains.More >>
    Against a back drop of shrimp boats, Vietnamese fishermen held signs with pictures of dead dolphins and sea turtles this morning. They were at the fishing dock on Biloxi Back Bay to join advocacy groups in a news conference talking about the impacts of the BP oil spill four years later.More >>
  • Affidavit: Diary detailed cop's relationship with teen

    Affidavit: Diary detailed cop's relationship with teen

    Thursday, April 10 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-04-10 10:53:05 GMT
    A Harrison County affidavit WLOX obtained said a young girl's diary detailed the relationship between former officer Patrick Klis and a 15-year-old girl. WLOX also found online pictures of Klis and a young girl.More >>
    WLOX News has uncovered new details about what led investigators to arrest a Long Beach Police officer for three counts of sexual battery involving a minor. A Harrison County affidavit WLOX obtained said a young girl's diary detailed the relationship between former officer Patrick Klis and a 15-year-old girl. WLOX also found online pictures of Klis and a young girl.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.