KILLEEN, TX — The death of Patrick Warren Sr., who was shot and killed by a Killeen police officer earlier this year, quickly gained national attention.
After 5 months of investigations and a trial by a Bell County Jury, the decision was made not to indict Killeen Police Officer Reynaldo Contreras for Warren Sr.’s death.
Patrick Warren Jr. says he had a gut feeling he would not get justice for his father on the local level, but that does not make it any easier to digest.
“Yeah, my mom is devastated right now. Um, my family is devastated, certain people in my family, we were trying to hold the news from because we don't want them to break down. We can't get any questions answered. I'm crushed," Warren Jr. said.
Warren Jr said throughout the investigation, the family has been in the dark, given no knowledge of the grand jury proceedings that ultimately led to no indictment.
"They're so secretive. So it's weird," he said. " I didn't even know things could happen like this.”
Warren Junior said he never had faith in the Bell County District’s Attorney’s Office ability to conduct a thorough investigation.
“When they came to their decision, it wasn't even something we could be involved with. We weren't allowed to be there. We weren't allowed to know what information was used in the investigation," Warren Jr. said.
"It's normal for the witnesses who are present to testify before the grand jury. So, I anticipated that they would contact my client and say, 'Well, you know, on this day we're going to Grand Jury, you all will be witnesses. When that phone call never happened, I know how this investigation was going," said Lee Merritt the attorney for the Warren Family.
Merritt this is not Merritt's first time taking on a case in the Central Texas Area. He's also the attorney for the family of Michael Brown, a Temple man who was shot and killed by a Temple Police officer in 2019.
"It's never fun to have to represent families for federal civil rights investigations occurring in the state of Texas," said Merritt.
Merritt said he believes the entire Warren investigation is flawed.
“They never committed to a full and thorough investigation from day one, they failed to make the scene which is the policy. Which is to show up, and have a district attorney directly involved in the investigation," said Warren.
The D-A’S office hasn’t released any information beyond the decision not to indite Office Contreras.
In a statement by Killeen Police Chief Charles Kimble said
This incident is rightfully of great concern to the community. As Killeen Police Chief, it is my duty to ensure a thorough investigation is conducted so that all parties, including the public, have the answers they seek. There are many more facts in this case that are not publicly available at this time. I assure you that more information will be made available as soon as appropriate, and I ask for your patience as both investigations proceed.
Kimble also sharing his plans to prioritize mental health training for his officers, at a Thursday community conversation event.
“We are actively looking at a plan that’s at the intersection of mental health and law enforcement there are different ways to solve this problem and we are committed to solving this problem,” said Kimble.
Eventually, Kimble said he wants to extend this training to Killeen citizens.
“Not only training our officers but also doing some community training,” Kimble said.
However, Merritt and Warren Jr. say it's too little too late.
Merritt said, “We are already in contact with the US Attorney's Office. There's already an open investigation. We expect charges or indictments by the summer at the federal level."
Warren Jr. said the family has started a petition called Crisis is Not a Crime and will be continuing to seek justice for his father.
Warren Jr. said "You mentally, you never get over what we experienced and what we saw, at least right now. You never get the sight of watching your father's life being taken in front of you. You never get that out of you."
He said he has faith one-day justice will be served.
"I believe 1,000% without a doubt that something's gonna happen. Like this is going to go in our favor. We're going to be able to get this officer and indicted, out of here, fired, arrested jail time. I know something is coming," Warren Jr said.
Merritt is also pushing for an FBI investigation into the Bell County District’s Attorney's office and the Killeen Police Department.