Former police officer weighs in on use of force, chase policies after DPS Trooper shoots, kills man in Converse

Videos show an unnamed trooper shooting 37-year-old Luis Navarro following a high-speed chase

SAN ANTONIO – Monday marks three weeks since a state trooper shot and killed 37-year-old Luis Navarro in Converse.

Witness video obtained by KSAT has raised questions about whether the use of force was justified.

“I don’t think the cop was in danger of his life,” said one of the witnesses to the April shooting. “I understand that the guy wasn’t obeying his commands, but I don’t believe that shooting him right in the chest helped the situation.”

In a statement shared with KSAT earlier this month, Navarro’s family said they wish the trooper “used less force.”

Videos show an unnamed trooper shooting 37-year-old Luis Navarro. DPS said Navarro died at the hospital.

The Department of Public Safety has a policy outlining when its officers should use force, whether that’s verbal or physical.

“This is silliness to have that, to where you had to go through all of that to get these,” said Kevin LaChapelle, a former police officer and criminal justice professor. “This stuff should be public information. It’s typical policies.”

“Why are policies like this important?” asked reporter Daniela Ibarra.

“That’s what guides the department, and that’s what the department uses to hold officers accountable to abide by these policies,” LaChapelle answered. “But the policy also has to give judgment on the part of the officer.”

According to DPS policy, “any use of force should be reassessed throughout the incident and should be discontinued when circumstances change so that the use of force remains objectively reasonable.”

“It’s something that is not black and white,” explained LaChapelle.

DPS and the witnesses said before the trooper pulled his gun, he tried shocking Navarro with a Taser -- but it wasn’t effective.

“The Taser is definitely a de-escalation tool, and that is going to heighten the sense of anybody,” said LaChapelle.

The video shows Navarro holding his arms out front, with a T-shirt in one hand and pointing at the woman next to him with the other.

DPS has not answered KSAT’s questions about if Navarro had a gun on him.

The trooper can be heard yelling at Navarro to get on the ground.

“It didn’t look like the suspect was advancing towards him,” said LaChapelle. “He was upset, had a t-shirt balled up in his hand. The only thing I can remotely wonder is if the officer, for some reason, thought that he had something wrapped in the t-shirt, but you can’t make that assumption in their investigation.”

DPS said the incident started about 20 miles away in New Braunfels. The trooper tried to pull Navarro over for a traffic violation, but DPS said he led the trooper on a high-speed chase.

The chase ended in Converse after DPS said Navarro crashed into another car.

DPS has a policy outlining when troopers can chase someone.

The policy states that troopers must weigh several factors before beginning or continuing a pursuit, including the crime the suspect is being chased for and the driver’s actions.

“Strong consideration on abandoning a pursuit should be given especially if the suspect’s identity is known, later apprehension can occur, and there’s no immediate threat to the public safety other than the threat created by the offense of evading,” according to the policy.

Navarro had an active warrant for his arrest, according to the Bexar County Jail and the Criminal Warrants Division.

An indictment obtained by KSAT shows Navarro was accused of pointing a gun at a family member in December 2019. Bexar County court records show Navarro had a dozen charges in the last two decades. Records show he was found guilty of two misdemeanors, including theft and terroristic threat of a family/household.

“Knowing all that, do you believe that the policy was followed?” asked Ibarra.

“Yeah, I don’t see any violations of policy at all,” said LaChapelle. “The issue still is, is that, yes, you have somebody that has known propensity for violence. You have somebody that fled the police, and you’re wondering, what are they fleeing from? Could have been another crime that was committed that they were worried about.”

KSAT has requested the trooper’s body and dash camera footage.

DPS has asked the Attorney General’s office to allow them to withhold it until their investigation wraps up.

KSAT reached out to DPS spokesperson Sgt. Kenny Mata with several questions about the shooting, but he said no further information would be released.

About the Authors

Daniela Ibarra joined the KSAT News team in July 2023. This isn’t her first time in the KSAT newsroom– the San Antonio native spent the summer of 2017 as an intern. Daniela is a proud Mean Green alum, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of North Texas.

Recommended Videos