Lounge owner details deadly officer-involved shooting caught on video

TEXAS CITY, TX (KTRK) -- The Texas City club where a a deadly officer-involved shooting happened is back open, and a vigil for the young man who lost his life was held at a nearby park.

We're still hearing two very different versions of that early-morning officer involved shooting at HT's lounge. But the owner tells us two surveillance cameras caught everything and he believes that video will bring closure to the family even if they don't like what they see.

Friends and family gathered to remember Carlton Smith Friday night in a park near his family's home.

The 20-year-old was shot and killed by a Texas city police officer early Friday morning in the parking lot of HT's lounge.

"A Texas city police officer arrived at the parking lot and saw the individual firing his handgun in the direction of people and drew his service weapon," says Texas City Police Chief Robert Burby.

Investigators say the officer gave Smith a warning, and Smith turned and pointed the gun at officers.

"He didn't get the chance to point the gun at officers at all because they shot him before he got all the way around. He was turning with it in his hand," says the lounge's owner H.T Aldridge.

H.T Aldridge has operated this lounge for 35 years at this location. He called police to help keep things in check for the let out because of the large crowd. He tells us a lady who was with Carlton Smith got into a fight with another lady inside the club and both were kicked out. Around the same time, Smith was involved in an altercation with several men. We're told the lady he was with got a gun.

"She shot in the air to scatter the people away from him. Then when they got back up they ran back up on him and he snatched the gun from her and started shooting. When he was done shooting, the cop ran up on him and shot him in the back of the head," adds an eyewitness who asked not to be identified.

Police say the officer feared for his life. This witness says there was no warning, an account that doesn't sit well with Smith's family.

"If you come up behind him and shoot him with no warning, you didn't tell him to freeze, didn't tell him nothing, you wanted to shoot him," says Smith's aunt Quintina Block.

"They didn't have to kill that man," exclaimed Charleston Harris. "All he had to do issued him to wound him and he would have been good."

H.T Aldridge says the video is key to the investigation and peace for the family.

"They need to see the tape and everybody can see for themselves what happened on the tape. Because if I hadn't seen the tape, I wouldn't have known what happened."

One woman was arrested at the scene Friday morning. Erica Renea Hill was charged with resisting arrest. The Galveston County Sheriff tells us they are looking into the role she played here at the scene.

The Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's office are leading the investigation.

The officer is on modified duty tonight. Per department policy, his name won't be released until 48 hours after the shooting.

Carlton Smith leaves behind a four-year-old son.
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