Updated: Thursday, 14 Apr 2011, 9:47 AM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 13 Apr 2011, 10:17 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Police said an Albuquerque man they were trying to arrest was shot and killed Tuesday because he fought detectives and took one of their guns. Now, the dead man's prominent family said that's flat-out not true.
Chris Torres's family is well-known around the city: his mother is a deputy county manager; his brother and father are both attorneys. His family said he had mental issues and that the cops knew it.
“These people murdered my brother,” said Stephen Torres.
His family has already hired four private investigators to try to prove that police were not justified in shooting his brother Chris.
“I am positive that he was scared to death and terrified, so I am positive that he was just not in a good place,” said Stephen Torres.
Two detectives showed up at the family home in Taylor Ranch on Albuquerque's west side Tuesday with a warrant to arrest Chris Torres for allegedly attacking another driver in a February road-rage incident.
Stephen Torres, who is a lawyer and who represented his brother in another case, said police should have notified him that they wanted Chris.
“'Can we come and talk to you at your office? Can you and your brother come downtown? Can your brother turn himself in?'” Torres said. “Where was all of that information; is what I want to know.”
APD claims that Chris Torres attacked the two detectives in the backyard of the house.
Public Safety Director Darren White said, "Torres punched Detective (Rich) Hilger in the face and a violent struggle ensued."
White said Torres grabbed Hilger's gun and pointed it at the officers.
” Detective Brown shot a minimum of three times," White said.
Stephen Torres doesn't buy APD’s story.
“Somehow he overpowered two cops and allegedly knocked one of their guns free, but where was the taser?” Torres asked. “There is evidence that our investigators have uncovered today (Wednesday) to show that that probably didn't happen at all.”
He didn't want to say what that evidence is. Stephen Torres also said police knew his brother had a mental illness and should have had a crisis management team with them.
“So the fact that these detectives came over here without any support is negligent to said the very least,” Torres said.
APD wouldn't respond to the Torres family's comments. The department is still investigating to see whether the officers knew Chris Torres had mental issues. APD said the house was not red-flagged in its special computer system set up to alert officers of past problems at a specific address.
APD had arrested Chris Torres in February for impersonating a federal agent. Police said he stood up in a restaurant and declared he was with the Drug Enforcement Agency, and that another customer was trying to rob the place.
The Torres family said they didn't know about the road rage incident a few days before that, but were working with him on his mental issues.
According to the criminal complaint in that arrest, police say they'd gotten dozens of calls this year about Torres driving erratically and aggressively in his Mustang.