EXCLUSIVE: Family wants answers after fatal officer-involved Beltway shooting

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Family members say Ashtain Barnes was shot and killed by police Thursday.

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences is still working on identifying the person shot by a deputy constable Thursday on the West Sam Houston Parkway.

Authorities say fingerprint analysis should soon give them a positive identity from which next of kin can be notified.

As detectives were still piecing together the scene Thursday, Rita Felder got a phone call. It was the rental car company which owned the car pulled over by that deputy constable.

The person on the other end of the line told Felder police had called them with startling news about the driver.

"Whoever was driving it just got shot and killed by the police" said Felder. "And she hung up."

Felder suspects she got the call because it was her card on file with the rental company.

"My heart just dropped, you know, because. for her to say something like that, I figured she had to know what she was talking about," she said.

That's what has Felder puzzled. She says her grandson is 24-year-old Ashtain Barnes. His mother says he has a history of misdemeanor run-ins with the law.

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Police had the West Beltway southbound at Bellaire shut down after a deadly officer-involved shooting Thursday.

If it was him, she concludes, it shouldn't be hard to figure out.

"The police contacted the rental agency. Why was one more phone call not made," said Janice Hughes-Barnes.

The driver was shot and killed by a Harris county Precinct 5 deputy constable who had stopped him southbound on the West Sam Houston Parkway. Police say the vehicle had a number of outstanding toll violations and had just passed through the tool both there.

The deputy said he smelled marijuana during the stop and asked the driver to get out of the vehicle. The driver refused and, with the door open, started to drive away. Investigators say the deputy jumped on and fired his gun when the driver grabbed for his hand.

More than 24 hours later and this mother says the lack of information is only compounding her grief.

"It just leads me to believe at this point that they're just trying to put together something to tell me," said Hughes-Barnes.

The medical examiner's office admits they have not yet notified next of kin. Fingerprint analysis, they say, was not yet complete.

A spokesperson for HPD says there would be no way to prevent the rental car company from calling the family and telling them about the shooting.
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