Two Bastrop County sheriff’s deputies shot a 78-year-old man outside his home Wednesday, leaving him in critical condition.
According to a statement from Bastrop County, the deputies responded to a 911 call from a female resident of 121 Stony Mont Drive in Del Valle for a domestic disturbance call. When they arrived on site just before 4:30 p.m., they were confronted by Jose Cantu, 78, who was in possession of a firearm.
The two responding deputies, 30-year-old Mark Garcia and 32-year-old Stephen Broderick, repeatedly asked Cantu to disarm, which Cantu “disregarded” before pointing his weapon at the deputies.
“Fearing for their safety,” the statement reads, “deputy sheriffs discharged their weapons, striking Mr. Cantu.”
Directly after the shooting, Cantu was given first aid by Garcia and Broderick before he was transferred to an area hospital in critical condition. The female who made the initial domestic disturbance call was later identified as Cantu’s daughter.
But witnesses in the neighborhood tell a different account of the shooting. One witness said one of two deputies first on scene yelled a single command to "lower the weapon" before opening fire. The gentleman was shot in his wheel chair -- a situation neighbors say could have been avoided.
"They go to school. They are trained for this,” witness Jose Haros said. “But I don't know where in training it teaches them to fire over a dozen bullets at a senior citizen sitting in a wheel chair that is paralyzed."
According to neighbors, the elderly gentlemen recently suffered a severe stroke before the incident.
"You put a dozen bullets in a guy, fire over a dozen shots at someone in a wheel chair?” Haros said. “It's common sense."
Another neighbor told YNN Cantu carried a BB gun because of nuisance chickens disturbing his yard. She adds she didn't consider him a threat.
Both Garcia, who has been with the Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office since 2005 and Broderick, who has been part of the sheriff's office since 2008, have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involving shootings.