(LibertySociety.com) – A 17-year veteran of the Mesquite Police Department shot and killed a 19-year-old during a 3 a.m. traffic stop on December 14. An officer with the department was following a stolen vehicle intending to initiate a traffic stop. He noticed another vehicle following closely behind the stolen one, and shortly thereafter, both vehicles stopped at the gas pumps at a 7-Eleven. According to the officer, he approached the stolen vehicle, but no one was inside. He observed two suspects fleeing the scene on foot but decided to approach the other vehicle after determining they were traveling together.
During the encounter, the officer got into a confrontation with the driver, Payton Lawrence, and five other individuals at the scene. The officer shot and killed the driver, but specific details related to the incident remain unknown. Mesquite Police released a statement, noting that “the driver continued making furtive movements inside the vehicle” and was being uncooperative when the officer tried to detain him. According to the Mesquite PD, the officer shot at the driver three times. Police said that several firearms were found inside the vehicle and three individuals were arrested.
While many questions remain unanswered, a spokesperson for Mesquite PD said that video footage of the shooting would soon be released. Various angles of the incident will be provided, including surveillance footage from the 7-Eleven and body camera footage. The spokesperson said that the videos could be released during the week of Christmas, which is on a Monday this year. Payton Lawrence’s father, Steven Lawrence, admitted that he did not know the full story yet, but also blamed Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott for lax gun laws. He said that police should not shoot someone just because they suspect they have a gun. He noted that his son was driving his twin sister’s car, which had three bullet holes through the windshield. He claimed that the police shot his son, but then detained him with handcuffs after he was already dead. He also said that another one of his sons was killed by a gun just a few years ago but did not elaborate on the details.
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