HOUSTON – The family of Marcelo Garcia announced Thursday plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit after Garcia was shot and killed by a deputy while suffering a mental health crisis.
Bianca Calderón de Lachica Law Firm will represent the surviving family and the estate of Marcelo Garcia to pursue the charges against all responsible parties. The family and the attorneys will hold a press conference in Houston Thursday.
The family said Garcia was a devoted husband, father and son, who suffered from mental conditions.
“It is our mission to prevent the open season killing of marginalized and disenfranchised individuals who suffer from mental diseases,” the law firm wrote in a press release. “Contrary to what the media has expressed, Mr. Garcia’s family is adamant that he was not armed, nor are they aware of any knife being recovered after two fatal gunshots were fired.”
An investigation is underway into the death of Garcia.
On Wednesday, Authorities from multiple agencies are investigating after they said a knife-wielding man was fatally shot by a deputy in northeast Harris County.
Investigators said a woman called police around 12:40 a.m. saying her husband was having a mental health crisis at their home in the 5900 block of Sunflower Prairie Court.
When a deputy was on his way to the scene, authorities said he requested a mental health unit to come to the location, but there wasn’t one available.
Authorities said the man, 46-year-old Marcelo Garcia, confronted the deputy at the front door with a knife. The deputy said he asked the man to put down the knife, but he refused.
“The suspect aggressively approached our deputy,” Assistant Chief Mike Lee with Harris County Sheriff’s Office said. “The deputy and the subject retreated a number of yards out into the street. The deputy attempted to use his Taser on the subject that was still armed with a knife. The Taser was not effective at that time. At that time, our deputy discharged his weapon a number of times, striking the suspect.”
The deputy, who has been on the street for seven months, was not hurt during the incident. Harris County Sherriff’s Office told KPRC 2 the deputy has received training that exceeds the state’s standards on how to interact with people experiencing a mental health crisis.
Investigators said Garcia has a wife and four children. Three of the children were at the home during the shooting, authorities said. The family is adamant Garcia was not carrying a knife during the incident and says he spoke limited English.
Authorities said they have been called to the home for mental health crises in the past, and the most recent visit was last Thursday. According to Garcia’s family, he suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Garcia’s sister said they always inform authorities about the man’s mental health conditions beforehand.
“There’s no turning back from here. He’s gone,” Garcia’s sister said.