Texas police officer mistakes lighter for weapon, shoots man
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A Corpus Christi police officer investigating two robberies at a convenience store shot a man who resembled a suspect after mistaking a lighter in his hand for a weapon, the city’s police chief said.
Police Chief Mike Markle announced Tuesday that the man shot by an officer was determined not to be a suspect in either of the Hi-Ho convenience store robberies, the Corpus Christi Caller Times reported.
Police approached the man at his home on Tuesday because he matched the description of a suspect in the robberies earlier that day, Markle said.
Police said the man was hiding his hands from officers and wasn’t complying with their requests. When the man eventually revealed his hands to police, an officer mistook an object he was holding for a weapon and shot at him, Markle said.
Police later discovered the object was a large lighter, Markle said. The man sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to the police chief. He didn’t explain what kind of weapon the officer believed the man was holding.
“The officers were searching a neighborhood for armed suspects. They’re at a heightened state of awareness, a heightened state of alert,” Markle said. “They found somebody that matched the description and for whatever reason ... the individual was non-compliant, which resulted in shots fired.”
The officer involved in the shooting will be placed on administrative leave, per department policy, he said.
Markle said two other men suspected in the robberies were taken into custody. Investigations into the robberies are ongoing, he said.
Information from: Corpus Christi Caller-Times, http://www.caller.com