Family of Houston man shot and killed by officers seek more movement in case 1 year later

Erica Simon Image
Thursday, April 22, 2021
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Nicolas Chavez was killed in April 2020 when four officers fired 21 shots at him during a standoff.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One day after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of multiple murder charges and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, a Houston family is remembering their loved one who was killed by police one year ago on Wednesday.

Nicolas Chavez, who was 27 years old at the time, was experiencing a mental health crisis when officers with the Houston Police Department fired at least 21 rounds at him.

He was unarmed, although HPD claims he reached for a Taser.

READ ALSO: 'He should still be alive:' Father of man who was killed in officer-involved shooting said

On Wednesday, a vigil was held on Gazin Street in Denver Harbor where Chavez was killed.

"This pain that I have ... I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," said Nicholas' mother, Leantha Chavez.

It's been a year but the heartache is still real for the grieving mother. Chavez was killed on April 21, 2020 when four officers fired 21 shots at him during a standoff.

Police said officers responded to a call about a suicidal person who was armed and running in and out of traffic. Chavez reportedly ignored commands and threatened officers, according to police.

"He couldn't even get up. He was already hurt," said Nicolas' wife, Jessica Chavez, who was holding back tears when she spoke with ABC13 on Wednesday. "They should have just tackled him and took him and got him help instead of killing him. He doesn't deserve none of this."

Four of the officers involved in the shooting were terminated from HPD in September 2020, but the family said that's not enough. They want criminal action.

READ ALSO: HPD Chief apologizes to family of man shot 21 times by police

"I don't get it. I don't understand. I want movement in the case. I do," said Leantha.

While the Chavez family is pleased with the verdict in Chauvin's trial, they believe it's a reminder that justice still hasn't been served for Nicholas.

"I was very happy, actually. I was very happy," said Leantha. "Considering that George Floyd died -- that incident happened after Nicolas died -- they're done with their trial. We haven't even gone to the grand jury yet for indictments."

As the call for police reform continues, the Chavez family said they won't give up. They'll continue to fight for Nicolas - who may have struggled with some mental illness, but was known as a loving husband, father, son, brother and friend.

"My husband was a very good man. Not only that, but an awesome dad. Stepdad," said Jessica.

The Chavez family has filed a $100 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Houston Police Department. The city said it's letting the lawsuit run its course through the legal system.

READ MORE: Family of Houston man shot and killed by officers suing HPD for $100M

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