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Local grand jury votes not to seek indictment against Corpus Christi police officer

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 16:59:25-04

A Nueces County Grand Jury has voted not to seek an indictment against Corpus Christi police officer Gilbert Cantu. He is the officer who mistakenly shot a man during a robbery investigation back in March.

The decision by the grand jury was made last Thursday, but was announced by the District Attorney's office on Monday morning.

"The community felt that the force was justified and that no criminal liability will be applied in this case," said Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez.

The grand jury's decision came as a shock Richard Salazar's family. He's the man who was shot by Officer Cantu on March 26.

His brother-in-law, Sean Garza, spoke to KRIS 6 News shortly after the grand jury's decision was announced.

"No justice, you lose faith in the justice system, you lose faith in cops doing their job," said Garza.

Officer Cantu and Officer Jacqueline Deleon were investigating a convenience store robbery in the area of Baldwin. While officers were searching for the suspects involved in that robbery, they found Richard "Richie" Salazar standing outside of his home on the 200 block of Torreon. He reportedly matched the description of one of the suspects that were involved.

Officer Cantu said Salazar didn't comply with his demands, and had what he thought was a gun in his hand. It turned out to be a lighter and Salazar was shot several times.

"He thanks God and Jesus that he's alive and that God saved him, or he would be dead," Garza said.

Meanwhile, Matthew Manning, the first assistant at the Nueces County District Attorney's office, understands that family members and some members of the public may be disappointed in the grand jury's decision.

"Believing either that we did not take the case seriously or that we, working in league with CCPD, quote 'made the case go away.' These beliefs could not be further from the truth."

Both officers involved in the shooting are back on duty.

A federal lawsuit has been filed against the city of Corpus Christi and the police department over the shooting of Salazar.

The suit alleges excessive force on the part of the two officers who were involved. It also alleges Salazar's rights were violated and says the officers were not properly trained. The suit asks for just over $12 million in damages.

Here is a link to the report from the District Attorney on the shooting.

And here's a PDF to the same report.