Neighbors Speak Out About Officer-Involved Shooting

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - Continuing coverage on an officer-involved shooting that happened in Odessa on Sunday. Neighbors are speaking out about the man who was killed by police when he was making suicidal threats.

NewsWest 9 spoke with a few people in the 2900 block of Tom Green and all of them said the same thing. They're shocked that this happened they also say the victim was a caring man who will be missed.

"I was thinking that this wasn't true," neighbor, Jessica Hinojosa, said. "Is this really going on or is it just people saying that."

Shock and sadness spread on the street of North Tom Green in Odessa.

Neighbors are remembering Raul Lara as a man who loved life and someone you could count on.

"He was always so positive and friendly to everyone," Hinojosa said. "If anybody needed help, he was there to help."

"He was friends to everybody on this block," neighbor, Bob Riley, said.

Officers opened fire on Lara Sunday night after police said Lara was suicidal and moved towards them with a loaded revolver and pointed it at them.

"Mr. Lara refused to obey the officers repeated commands to stop as he continued to advance towards officers," Odessa Police Chief, Tim Burton, said.

"We heard two gunfires and that officer says fall and we both fell to the ground," Riley said.

Chief Burton defended Cpl. Joe Galindo, Cpl. Shannon Davis and Cpl. Ben Sorenson's decision to use deadly force.

But some neighbors don't agree.

"They didn't end it peacefully. I mean they shot him twice," Hinojosa said. "I mean if they really wanted to end things peacefully they would've let his family try to talk to him. They could've ended this another way, not this way."

Now these residents are hoping their troubled neighbor and friend will finally find peace.

"Nobody's perfect, everybody hides things inside," Hinojosa said. "His pain was probably stronger than others and he couldn't handle it no more."

"If I'd only known I would've gone over there and talked to him and helped him," Riley said. "I just hate that happened. He was a very good man."

The three officers are on administrative duty until the investigation wraps up.

NewsWest 9 did speak with the family of Raul Lara as well. They had no comment at this time but "they are asking everyone to please respect their privacy during this difficult time."

Lara's body has been sent to Tarrant County where an autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.