The Corpus Christi Police Department doesn’t have what could have been a key piece of evidence in its investigation into a police shooting on Torreon Street.
On March 26, police officers were in the area of Baldwin Boulevard following a report of a robbery at the Hi-Ho Convenience Store at the 3900 block of Baldwin Boulevard. Senior Officer Gilbert Cantu and Officer Jacqueline Deleon were looking for the robbery suspects when they encountered Richard “Richie” Salazar outside of his home and shot him several times.
On April 22, KRIS 6 News submitted an open records request to receive a copy of film from the incident from Officer Cantu and Officer Deleon’s body cameras.
This morning, the Corpus Christi Police Department‘s Open Records Division replied to our request stating: “Please note the requested records did not exist and were not maintained by the Department on the date that the Department received your request.”
KRIS 6 News asked for clarification and an employee with the department said the officers did not have body cameras.
CCPD spokesperson Lt. Michael Pena says the department does not have enough body cameras to give one to every officer on duty, but it is not yet clear if the officers had been issued a camera that day.
During an April 22 interview with Police Chief Mike Markle on his request for body cameras, KRIS 6 asked if the body camera footage taken on Torreon Street was beneficial to the department’s investigation.
“There’s a mix of footage in-car camera footage. So, that’s an ongoing investigation,” Markle said.
During a March 27 interview on KRIS 6 News noon show, Police Chief Mike Markle said the officers believed Salazar matched the description of one of the suspects, and as they approached, Salazar was hiding his hands. Officers asked Salazar to show his hands, but he didn’t immediately comply.
When he did show his hands, Markle said Salazar had what the officers believed to be a weapon. The item Salazar was holding was actually a lighter.
Family members told KRIS 6 News Salazar had been home all day. He was sleeping on a sofa in the patio and woke up after he was startled after hearing commotion.
Salazar’s brother-in-law, Sean Garza, said Salazar was shot five times. Three bullets hit him and two other shots hit the house.
One of those bullets went into the living room. Garza said one bullet hit Salazar’s arm. The second bullet hit Salazar’s side, hit his colon and lodged in his spine. The third bullet grazed Salazar’s right shoulder, Garza said.
According to Sean Garza, Salazar’s right arm was severely injured and he had to undergo reconstructive surgery on his colon.
The family said police didn’t have to shoot Salazar.
“Police didn’t use a taser,” Garza said. “That should have been their weapon of choice regardless of the situation.”
Salazar was released from the hospital on April 26. He is back home being cared for by his mother who said the family has hired an attorney to review the incident.
Cantu has been with the department for seven years and is a Field Training Officer Working with Deleon, who had less than one year on the force and still in the Field Officer stage of training.
CCPD said Deleon did not discharge her weapon during the incident.
Cantu was also previously involved in a shooting in April 2018, at the scene of a home invasion robbery on Capitan Drive. 34-year-old Adan Rene Marrero was shot by officers and died at the scene.