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Attorney for teen killed by trooper discusses lawsuit

A deeper look at the case against DPS Trooper Donald Hinote
Posted at 9:25 PM, Jun 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 10:50:58-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The attorney representing the family of Ronald "Nano" Elizondo Jr. said he filed suit against the Texas Department of Public Safety and the trooper who shot and killed Elizondo, because the trooper acted inappropriately during the entire 12-second encounter.

“We have a lot of problems with that," attorney Wes Bearden said of the video of the encounter he released while filing the lawsuit Wednesday. "Number one, he failed to identify himself as a police officer. He didn’t use proper verbal commands. He basically startled him, causing him to run, and (then the trooper) shot him as he was running away."

The video from Trooper Donald Hinote's security system shows Hinote running toward a car parked outside his home in the 7000 block of Clubgate Drive on July 10, 2019.

The lawsuit states Hinote thought a crime was happening -- perhaps a car break-in.

Hinote can be heard saying, "Hey, get out of there!"

As Elizondo runs, Hinote fires four shots. Elizondo would end up dying from his chest wounds.

"A kid lost his life for, at worst, would have been a trip to juvenile hall," Bearden said. "He wound up going down to the morgue. It should never happen.”

The civil lawsuit Bearden filed is for wrongful death, among other allegations. It seeks more than $1 million in damages.

A spokesperson for the Texas DPS asked for patience as it tries to fulfill KRIS 6 News' request for comment on the lawsuit.

Our reporter knocked on the door at the address listed as Hinote's home, but the man who answered said he doesn't live there anymore.