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article imageUnarmed college football player killed in Texas police shooting

By Megan Hamilton     Aug 9, 2015 in Crime
Arlington - A Dallas police officer allegedly shot and killed an unarmed college football player during a struggle after the teenager crashed a car through the window of a car dealership early Friday, authorities say.
The man has been identified as Christian Taylor,19, of Arlington. He was a sophomore at San Angelo State University, Fox News reports.
Officers were responding to a burglary call in Arlington around 1 a.m Friday when they found that someone had driven a vehicle through a front window of the Classic Buick GMC dealership, according to an Arlington Police statement. It also said that police approached the suspect and a struggle broke out. At some point during the struggle an officer allegedly shot Taylor.
A security company contacted 911 after the suspect was observed on a security camera outside the dealership, the Star-Telegram reported.
Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Rodriguez said that video shows Taylor engaged in "criminal activity" prior to the shooting, crashing through the dealership's metal gate, emerging from his SUV and damaging a vehicle in the lot, and then driving through the showroom glass.
The video doesn't show the shooting, he said.
Two Arlington police officers — Officer Brad Miller, 49, and his training officer — responded to the call and found Taylor inside, The New York Daily News reports.
Miller, who joined the department in Sept. 2014, allegedly shot and killed the unarmed black teenager during the scuffle. He recently graduated from the police academy in March and had never fired his weapon while on duty before the encounter with Taylor.
Officer Brad Miller.
Officer Brad Miller.
YouTube screen gray Say Cheese
The incident is being investigated by the Arlington Police Department and the Dallas field office of the FBI, said Police Chief Will Johnson at a press conference Saturday night. The FBI's participation "in no way diminishes my confidence in the Arlington Police Department's ability" to investigate Taylor's death, he said.
"We're having two independent investigations — a criminal and administrative," Rodriguez said, per the Star-Tribune. "As an agency, we take the loss of any human life as serious, but we owe it to our community to conduct a clear and transparent investigation to determine what exactly took place."
Miller has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.
Taylor has no criminal convictions but was sentenced to six months' deferred-adjudication probation late last year for possession of a controlled substance, according to Tarrant County court records, the Star-Telegram reports.
The charge stems from a Sept. 13 traffic stop; Taylor was found in possession of 11 hydrocodone tablets that weren't subscribed to him, according to an Arlington police report.
That case was dismissed on July 14 after the young man completed his probation, according to court records.
The promising young football player was supposed to report to school on Sunday, said Mansfield Summit High school Football Coach Travis Pride, per the New York Daily News.
"He told me that he thought he'd have an opportunity to start," Pride said. "He was ready to get back. He loved the coaches, loved the program. All signs were pointed to go, for him to go get things done."
Taylor lead Mansfield Summit to the Texas high school playoffs in 2014 after making 96 tackles.
Family and friends say he was a fun-loving kid with an excellent future and they cast doubt on any criminal activity.
Christian Taylor.
Christian Taylor.
YouTube screen grab Say Cheese
He was a good man and a talented football player, Taylor's great-uncle Clyde Fuller told the Star-Tribune.
"He was a good kid. I don't see him stealing no car or nothing like that," Fuller said.
Now, he's left with many unanswered questions and says he doesn't believe his great-nephew was burglarizing the dealership.
"I think something is going on that somebody is lying about," Fuller said. "They say he's burglarizing the place by running up in there? Nuh-uh. Something doesn't sound right."
Pride told the Star-Tribune he had just seen Taylor the day before his death, and he has been doing some pensive reflecting.
"Christian was a charismatic kid and a leader on the football team," he said.
"It makes you do some self-analyzing. You want every kid you coach to have success after football and have good relationships and be able to watch their own kids play sports," he added. "When they fall short of that, it makes you sad."
A spokeswoman for Angelo State said that Taylor was enrolled at the college and football practice was scheduled to begin Wednesday.
"We are all terribly sad for his family and friends," Becky Brackin, the school's director of communications and marketing told the Star-Tribune.
Taylor was set to begin his sophomore season and had received a scholarship to play at Angelo State.
In a Tweet, Angelo State coach Will Wagner said: "Heart is hurting."
Taylor's friend Jayci Korus, who's a student at Angelo State, said she met him last summer, and said he tried to help everyone he met and "touched people's lives daily," she told The Dallas Morning News.
"His spirit could touch your heart," she said. "Because of him I'm doing better for me."
His death has shocked the campus, she added.
"It's crazy," she said. "Our town is torn right now."
Only one week earlier, Taylor tweeted the ominous message: "I don't wanna die too younggggg."
The social media is filling up with tributes to the young man, the New York Daily News reports.
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