VIDEO: Family Says Cop Overreacted In Shooting Machete-Wielding 'Gentle Giant'
Port Arthur, TX – Port Arthur police released bodycam and dashcam video on Friday of an officer-involved shooting of a man with a machete (video below).
The incident occurred on Dec. 28, 2018 when Port Arthur Police Officer Aaron Taylor encountered a machete-wielding man in the middle of the 1600-block of Kansas Avenue, KBMT reported.
Dashcam and bodycam videos showed Officer Taylor got out of his police vehicle with his weapon drawn and ordered 35-year-old Shayne Lyons to “drop the knife” multiple times.
Instead of complying with the officer’s commands, Lyons walked toward Officer Taylor at a steady and deliberate pace, the videos showed.
Lyons was holding a machete in his hands as he approached the officer.
“Drop it!” Officer Taylor yelled in the video. “Put it on the ground right now!”
Lyons ignored all of the officer’s commands and proceeded to walk directly to Officer Taylor, the video showed.
When Lyons got to within eight feet of the officer, where he could have easily taken a swipe at him with the long blade, Officer Taylor opened fire and fatally shot Lyons.
Officer Taylor fired eight shots, the Beaumont Enterprise reported.
The video stopped at the point where Lyons was standing where Officer Taylor fired at him and does not show the actual shooting.
Lyons was pronounced dead at the scene, according to KBMT.
Port Arthur Police Chief Tim Duriso and Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham later announced that toxicology testing had determined that Lyons was carrying PCP in a pack of cigarettes.
In February, a Jefferson County grand jury declined to indict Officer Taylor after they were presented the findings of a joint investigation by the prosecutor and Texas Rangers, the Beaumont Enterprise reported.
Jefferson County Assistant District Attorney Cory Kneeland said the grand jury made their decision "methodically, logically and unemotionally” and he was supportive of it.
Although the shooting has been ruled justified, an internal affairs investigation is ongoing, the Beaumont Enterprise reported.
Officer Taylor has been with the Port Arthur Police Department for two years, according to KFDM.
Prosecutors showed the bodycam and dashcam videos to Lyons’ mother and immediate family before they were released to the general public, KFDM reported.
Initially, city officials did not want to release the video at all, but after threats of a lawsuit from Lyons’ family and outraged protests from the community, they reversed their earlier decision.
After seeing it, his family complained that they believed Officer Taylor had overreacted when he shot the man coming at him with a machete.
"Why did he have to shoot that many times?" Lyons’ brother, Andre Molo, asked KBMT.
Molo said he wasn’t satisfied by the explanation being given by the authorities.
"I didn't actually find anything new today," he said after the press conference where the videos were released to the public.
The family insisted that if the officer had handled the situation differently, Lyons would still be alive.
"He was nothing but a gentle giant and he was very passive person," Molo told KBMT.
He questioned why Officer Taylor didn’t call for backup prior to approaching Lyons.
Molo told the Beaumont Enterprise that he thought Officer Taylor should have talked to his brother to find out what was going on and why he was carrying a machete before he ordered him to put down the blade.
Watch Lyons approach the officer with a machete in the video below: