Texas Deputy Shoots Dead Armed Father of Four Suffering 'Mental Health Crisis'

A man who is said to have struggled with mental health problems for his entire life has been shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy in Texas.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office said a deputy had responded to a call in the 5900 block of Sunflower Prairie Court, East Harris County, on Wednesday, April 14, and encountered a man armed with a knife.

According to the department, a woman had called 911 around 1 a.m. saying her husband was having a mental health crisis, reported local TV station KTRK.

The department's dispatch also called for a mental health unit to come to the scene, but it was on call at another location, so the deputy responded by himself.

When the deputy arrived, the man—named by his family as Marcelo Garcia, a 46-year-old father of four—opened the door and "aggressively approached the deputy."

The deputy commanded Garcia to drop the knife and attempted to discharge his Taser to subdue him, but it did not work.

The deputy then fired his gun several times, killing the 46-year-old.

BREAKING🚨this is Marcelo Garcia, 46, husband and father to 4 girls, who was shot by a HCSO deputy this morning aftr wife called 911 saying he was having a “mental health crisis.” pic.twitter.com/q5dcrgA476

— Courtney Fischer (@CourtneyABC13) April 14, 2021

Garcia's sister, Jessica Garza, said that when her brother was having a mental health episode, his wife would call 911 and deputies who were trained to handle his condition would usually arrive to de-escalate the situation.

"I'm not going to say bipolar and schizophrenia isn't scary. I had to get trained, as a sister growing up, for him," Garza said. "We had to learn the coping skills. We had to get him diagnosed. I'm not going to deny that it's scary, but you don't kill him."

When asked by KTRK if one mental health unit was sufficient for the entire county, Assistant Chief Mike Lee said: "It's not enough. We have what's called a co-responder team, where deputies have a certified, master's level mental health clinician in the car that rides with them.

"We're one of the few departments in the nation that have them. They are not cheap. They are fairly expensive units," Lee added. "We do not have enough to provide adequate coverage around the county.

"We would like to see an increase with those units. And unfortunately, like what happened tonight, they are usually tied up on another call."

Lee added that deputies had responded to the address on several previous occasions and had also been there on April 8.

"We run tens of thousands of mental health crisis calls. Sending armed officers to mental health calls is not the ideal situation," Lee said. "Unfortunately, sometimes these issues fall through the cracks because the person can't receive the mental health care that is needed.

"The last resource, many times, is calling the police in these situations, which is not always ideal."

The deputy involved in the shooting was not injured. The officer, who has not been named, has been with the department for seven months.

Harris County Sheriff's Office has been contacted for further comment.

Harris County
File photo of a Harris County Sheriff's Office vehicle, seen on April 9, 2013, in Cypress, Texas. A man has been shot and killed by a Harris County deputy. Scott Halleran/Getty Images