A 49-year-old police trainee killed an unarmed teen burglary suspect who drove an SUV into the showroom of an Arlington car dealership early Friday.
Officer Brad Miller shot 19-year-old Christian Taylor about 1 a.m. after officers responded to a burglar alarm at Classic Buick GMC near Interstate 20 and Collins Street, police said.
Taylor, a football star and 2014 graduate of Mansfield Summit, was unarmed, police said.
The dealership’s security company reported the break-in after its cameras recorded a man there after hours, police said. Sgt. Paul Rodriguez said a burglar drove a sport utility vehicle through the dealership showroom’s glass doors.
When police arrived they found Taylor in the showroom and approached him. Police said Miller shot Taylor after an “altercation.” Taylor died at the scene, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
A little more than a week before his death, Taylor tweeted “I don’t wanna die too younggggg.”
Miller, 49, has been with the Arlington Police Department since September and graduated from the police academy in March, police said. He had no commendation or discipline record at the department.
Before joining the department, Miller had no police experience. At the time of the shooting he was in field training and under the supervision of a police training officer.
After the shooting, Miller was placed on administrative leave, Rodriguez said.
“That’s standard across the board for us for anybody involved in a deadly force situation,” he said.
Taylor was a defensive back on the Angelo State University football team, according to the team’s roster, and had two interceptions in the West Texas school’s spring game in February. He was recruited to play there after graduating from Mansfield Summit High School in 2014.
Angelo State coach Will Wagner said in a tweet, “Heart is hurting.”
In December, Taylor was sentenced to six months deferred adjudication for possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor, according to court records. The charge was dismissed when he completed probation, according to the records.
Authorities will complete independent criminal and administrative investigations into the shooting, Rodriguez said. The criminal investigation “focuses on the use of deadly force,” and the administrative investigation will determine whether Miller’s action complied with department policies, police said.
Investigators reviewed video footage from the dealership’s security cameras but have found no footage of the shooting, police said. Arlington police officers don’t wear body cameras, police said, though the department is implementing a pilot program.
Travis Pride, Taylor’s coach at Mansfield Summit, said he talked with him Thursday, when the teen visited Summit to work out with Pride’s current players. They spoke about his future in San Angelo, where Taylor was slated to return Sunday.
“He told me that he thought he’d have an opportunity to start,” Pride said. “He was ready to get back. He loved the coaches, loved the program. All signs were pointed to go, for him to go get things done.”
Pride said that Taylor was a “fun-loving prankster, a jokester.”
“He had a lot of personality, a little charmer,” Pride said. “He had that working for him; he had all the administrative assistants and secretaries eating out of his hand.”
Jayci Korus, a student at Angelo State, said she met Taylor last summer and the two became friends. She said he tried to help everyone he met and “touched people’s lives daily.”
“His spirit could touch your heart,” she said. “Because of him I’m doing better for me.”
While other friends took to social media to remember Taylor, Korus said his death has shocked the campus.
“It’s crazy,” she said. “Our town is torn right now.”
Staff writer Corbett Smith contributed to this report.