Vela's Family Speaks Out

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND- "It's not the first time or the second time," said a sobbing Vickiana Vela, the niece of the suspected drug dealer shot and killed by Midland Police Thursday, "this time it was my family."

Police serving a warrant to 905 N. Weatherford in Midland, Thursday, red flagged the case dangerous and sent in the SWAT team. Once inside Officer Mark Garza fired shots when police say 38 year old Alfredo Vela pointed a semi-automatic pistol in their direction.

"I think that if I was asleep at six o'clock in the morning, and didn't expect anybody to break into my house, I think I would have been waiting in the corner with a gun also scared to death," said Shady Sandoval, Vela's niece, who says police didn't identify themselves fast enough and Vela never got the chance to surrender.

"They should have made an announcement outside, and let him walk out the door, if he didn't give up they had their right to force their way in, but they didn't let him know," said Vela, a student at Howard College studying to be an interpreter for the deaf.

She says her uncle supported the family and even helped her with tuition.

"He was proud of me," said Vela, "He would give me good advice, you know, go to school, do something with your life. You don't want to turn out like all the bad ones."

The drugs and cash police found in Vela's home, didn't suprise the family but they say a rap sheet doesn't give police the right to take a life.

"I know it's hard to try to make the right decision, but you need to try the best ones first before you take action that way," said Sandoval.

Midland Police say the officer had no choice but to fire, but family members want to see officers to be trained to look for better options.

"They didn't do their job right, they took out a human being," said Vela.

The Texas Ranger and the Midland shoot team are investigating. Police used deadly force in April when they shot and killed suspected murder Chad Sanchez. This time family members want to know why they shot more than once.

"I don't know why they shot him more than once, if one put him down?" said Sandoval.