Lawsuit filed after man killed by off-duty HPD officer

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The last words Phillip Garcia spoke to his mother were two years ago. He said, "I love you and thanks for everything. That was his good-bye to me," said Sonia Garcia.

On the night of Jan. 16th, Garcia and his friends were celebrating the Rockets win at Bombshells Sports Bar. There was an argument with another group of people and both were told to leave the bar.

In the parking lot, the argument continued and at some point Garcia displayed a gun.

"He was standing in the parking lot, with both arms above his head," said the family's attorney, Randall Kallinen. "A witness said his finger was not on the trigger."

He filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of the family, claiming civil rights violations and excessive force.

That night someone reported the incident to an off-duty HPD officer working security at the bar.

"He came outside, and never gave a command to Phillip to drop the gun," said Kallinen.

Garcia was shot four times, and died at a hospital. His mother said none of the incident rings true with her.

"He wasn't like that," she said.

Garcia was 26 years old and disabled by back pain after a drunk driver hit his car. He had to give up his construction job.

"He was the glue that held this family together," said his mother, who said she forgave the officer who killed her son.

"I didn't want to let anger destroy me, but I still want answers," she said.

Police union president Ray Hunt said he remembers the incident, and disputes that the officer acted improperly.

"A grand jury no-billed him, after hearing witness testimony, and never asked him to testify. Randall Kellinen makes a living off of suing the city," he said.
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