HCSO: Deputy fatally shoots knife-wielding teen

September 13, 2011 3:52:35 PM PDT
A Harris County Sheriff's deputy says he feared for his life when he shot and killed a 17-year-old boy Tuesday morning at the teen's home in Crosby. The teen reportedly threatened the deputy with a knife.

Sheriff's homicide investigators have been at the scene most of the day gathering information. Friends of Jose Polanco tell us while he's had some run-ins with the law in the past, he was serious about straightening his life out.

At 5 foot 7 and 135 pounds, friends say Polanco was not what you'd call intimidating.

Polanco's friend Andrew Cervantes said, "He wasn't no big person, he wasn't no nothing to be scared of or anything. He was calm, nice person, real get along with everybody."

On Tuesday morning the 17-year-old was shot and killed inside in an upstairs bedroom of his home by a Harris County Sheriff's deputy after he allegedly charged the officer with a knife. The deputy had been trying to talk him out.

"I'm not sure what kind of knife it was, only that he was armed with a knife and he came toward the deputy," explained HCSO spokesperson Christina Garza. "In self-defense, the deputy discharged his weapon."

Deputy Bryan Angelle, a 19 year veteran, was responding to a call made by a neighbor who witnessed a confrontation between Polanco and his mother outside the home.

Polanco's mother told Eyewitness News she and her son had been arguing. She says when Jose saw the deputy arrive at the house, he ran in the kitchen, grabbed a knife and told his mother he would rather kill himself than go to jail. That's when he ran up the stairs.

Polanco's mother says after the shooting, she saw the deputy walk down the stairs with both of his hands on his head saying, 'I can't believe it, I can't believe it.' He then walked out of the house.

Friends describe the relationship between mother and son as rocky. The 17-year-old had just returned to the Houston area after spending a month in New York to help his father fix cars.

"It was a mechanic shop. His dad was going to pass it down to him when he retired," said Polanco's friend Chris Condrey. "That's what he was going to do."

Friends say they've never known Polanco to carry a knife in all the years they've known him.

Cervantes said, "Jose didn't deserve to die like this. That's point period in. Jose didn't deserve to die like this."

Deputy Angelle, who often patrols the same neighborhood, fired his gun more than twice. The sheriff's office says this wasn't the first time deputies have been called to the family's home.

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