He feared for his life


Houston, Texas:

Just after 3:30 a.m., agents in front called out “FBI!” and threw flash-bang grenades to stun the captors, while the pair in the rear tried to smash through a window and rescue Valladares, according to authorities.

But in the chaos that followed, an agent fired his rifle, striking Valladares and killing him in what Houston police Chief Art Acevedo said Tuesday was a tragic mistake.

Why shoot the victim? Oh, the usual reason:

As one group stormed the front of the house, an agent in the back used a breaching bar to break open the rear window.

At some point, the agent lost his grip on the tool and it fell inside, according to the police chief. When he tried to use his M-4 rifle as a substitute, he felt a tug on the barrel. In a panic, he fired two shots, Acevedo said. One hit the eaves of the rooftop. The other struck Valladares, who had been sitting by the window, his hands tied in front of him, according to the police chief.

[…]

Acevedo said the agent, fearing for his life, made a “split-second decision” and pulled the trigger intentionally.

A couple of paragraphs later:

The police chief said it was not clear why Valladares grabbed the agent’s gun.

“He was bound, obviously, with his hands in front of him, taped and not able to see in the dark,” he said. “If I had to speculate it would be he was trying to get out of that room.”

People do irrational, unhelpful things when they’re scared. Someone who’s been kidnapped, for instance, might clutch instinctively at the cop breaking in the window to come and save him.

He feared for his life. It’s only natural.

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