Laredo, TX — Cesar Cuellar, 25, a rookie cop who had only been an officer for about two months was shot and killed by police after he had reportedly attempted to kill himself. Few details are being released about the case, aside from the fact that police responded to a suicide attempt call at his apartment and ended up shooting him.
“When our officers arrived they went in the house, or in the apartment, and we’re still now investigating exactly what happened. The person that was shot was armed, and he was shot by one of our Laredo Police officers,” Chief Ray Garner said.
There were two officers involved in the shooting, and while their names have been kept secret, they have been put on paid suspension and are now under investigation.
Cuellar’s mother told the media this week that she witnessed the police shoot and kill her son, and that he did not pose a threat to them in any way.
Sheriff Martin Cuellar of the Webb County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement,
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Cesar Cuellar Jr., and to the families of everyone involved in this tragic situation. I have been in law enforcement my entire life and I can tell you that anytime you lose one of your own, it is very difficult on everyone involved. Deputy Cuellar had only been with us for a few weeks, but once you put on that uniform, you’re a brother or sister in law enforcement, and a loss like this affects everyone. Deputy Cuellar was a respectful individual who had prior law enforcement experience in Zapata County. He had just began his career with the Webb County Sheriff’s Office in October.”
It is very true that suicidal people can pose a danger both to themselves and other people, but when police get involved in mental health situations they usually do more harm than good, even when the person is one of their own. Sadly, it is nothing new for police officers to kill a suicidal person, in fact, it happens on a regular basis.
In one strange case last year, a man called a suicide prevention hotline, and ended up having police show up at his house and kill him. When police shoot and kill a suicidal person they often blame the victim and call it “suicide by cop,” when in reality it is obvious that in most cases the officers could have instead taken steps to de-escalate the situation instead of making it worse.
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