WACO, Texas – Attorney Lee Merritt is speaking out after the Bell County Grand Jury’s decision last Wednesday.
The Grand Jury decided Officer Reynaldo Contreras will not be indicted for the deadly shooting of Patrick Warren, Sr.
“We are going to see Officer Reynaldo Contreras arrested for the death of Patrick Warren,” Merritt said. “It was a homicide. It was reckless and unnecessary.”
Merritt says the decision to not indict Officer Contreras for the the death of Warren is frustrating. He says Warren did not deserve to die for mental health issues, and he hopes Texas pursues a policy change concerning mental health.
“Governor Abbott declared that there is a mental health crisis in Texas,” Merritt said. “Law Enforcement all agree that they’re overwhelmed at dealing with this mental health crisis. They are undertrained to handle situations like this.”
Merritt believes the Grand Jury made the wrong decision because they didn’t know it was a mental health call.
“We don’t know that the proper context was given to the situation at this presentation,” Merritt said. “We know that’s going to happen at the federal level, so we are preparing for that.”
Days after the shooting earlier this year, Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble stood by Officer Contreras.
“I don’t see where he could have done anything else,” Kimble said. “If you look where Officer Contreras started and where he ended, he was literally at the front steps of that house and ended up in a neighbor’s yard.”
Contreras is no longer on administrative leave, and is back to duty. Merritt does not believe this is fair, and says he should be held accountable for his actions.
“It was their plan from the beginning to justify this shooting,” Merritt said.
Merritt plans to stay persistent with the case and help shepherd a change in policy when it comes to mental health calls.
“So that other people like Patrick Warren, suffering a mental health emergency in their own home, in their PJ’s unarmed, can get to safety – as opposed to being shot on their front lawn,” Merritt said.