Unarmed black teen slain by Texas rookie officer

An unarmed black college student was shot and killed by a white police officer in Arlington, Texas.


Kate Conger


Published Aug 8, 2015   Updated May 28, 2021, 5:06 am CDT

A 19-year-old black college student was shot and killed by a white rookie officer early Friday morning during a confrontation at a car dealership in Arlington, Texas. 

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The student, Christian Taylor, had tweeted just one week ago that he hoped for a long life, writing, “I don’t wanna die too younggggg.” 

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Police found Taylor at a GMC Buick dealership around 1 a.m. CT after receiving reports that a driver had crashed into the dealership’s showroom. Police initially investigated the incident as a burglary. 

“As officers confronted the suspect, there was an altercation during which at least one officer discharged his weapon,” Arlington police spokesperson Sgt. Paul Rodriguez told USA Today. Taylor was unarmed and died at the scene, the medical examiner said.

The officer who fired is a 49-year-old officer-in-training named Brad Miller. He graduated from police academy in March and was undergoing supervised training when he shot Taylor. Miller is on administrative leave as police investigate the shooting. 

Taylor attended Angelo State University and played on the school’s football team. Will Wagner, the university’s football coach, tweeted after the shooting that his heart was hurting.  

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Last year, Taylor wrote on Twitter that he didn’t trust the police to protect him. 

Taylor’s family questioned the events that ended in his death. “He was a good kid. I don’t see him stealing no car or nothing like that,” his great-uncle, Clyde Fuller, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I think something is going on that somebody is lying about,” he added. “They say he’s burglarizing the place by running up in there? Nuh-uh. Something doesn’t sound right.”

Rodriguez said there is no footage of the shooting, according to the Star-Telegram. Arlington Police are working on a pilot program to provide officers with body cameras, but no officers are equipped with cameras yet. However, Rodriguez said surveillance video from the dealership shows the moments prior to the shooting, including “criminal activity.” 

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Rodriguez described footage in which Taylor crashed through the dealership’s gate, damaged a car in the lot, then drove through the dealership’s glass doors into the showroom. 

H/T WFAA8 | Screengrab via ABC

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*First Published: Aug 8, 2015, 4:47 am CDT