Parents file lawsuit after 'suicidal' Austin man killed

AUSTIN - Four months after a man was shot and killed by an Austin police officer in northeast Austin, his parents are filing a lawsuit against the city and the police officer.

Jason Roque Sebastian, 20, was shot dead by Officer James Harvel after he was allegedly seen waving around a gun in an alleged attempt at suicide. 

According to a lawsuit obtained by KVUE's media partners at the Austin American-Statesman, documents allege fatal force was not necessary in the case, and that black and Hispanic men such as Roque are disproportionally targeted during fatal shooting incidents with the Austin Police Department. The lawsuit cites nine incidences in 14 years in their case.

In the original report, police said they shot Roque because he didn't comply with verbal commands and began walking toward his mother. The interim Austin police chief said Harvel fired at Roque to protect his mother.

The lawsuit asserts that before Roque was shot, his mother called police and informed them that Roque was holding a BB gun and was suicidal. However, the bb gun distinction was never reported by police, the Statesman reports. Roque's parents' lawyer claims in the lawsuit that his mother pleaded to police to "not shoot him."

According to the Statesman, the lawsuit argues that Harvel didn't need to shoot at Roque multiple times because the first shot "inflicted great pain" on him without necessarily killing him. The lawsuit said Roque died after a third shot.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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