AUSTIN (KXAN) — The 20-year-old man who was shot and killed by an Austin police officer earlier this week in north Austin has been identified as Jason Sebastian Roque.
Police say they were originally called to a home in the 11000 block of Long Winter Drive on May 2 for a report of an attempted suicide involving a man waving a gun around erratically, but not necessarily pointing it at anyone. A Spanish speaker who identified herself as the suspect’s mother called 911 and said her son had a fight with his girlfriend. She also said her son had a gun in his front right pocket and wanted to kill himself.
The first officer arrived at 11:12 a.m., but waited for backup due to information that there was possibly a barricaded suspect inside the house. At 11:15 a.m. the garage door opened and Roque was standing inside.
Police say Roque then started arguing with his mother and then made his way into the street. Chief of Police Brian Manley said Roque ignored officers’ commands.
“The subject was telling them to shoot him and so the officers realized the volatility of the situation they were dealing with and when he was non-compliant, wouldn’t follow commands and ultimately turned around in the direction of the mother, they could no longer see the weapon,” Manley said.
Worried that Roque would hurt his mother, Officer James Harvel fired at Roque, killing him.
Harvel, who has been with the department for 17 years, has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.
Records show Harvel was involved in another officer-involved shooting in June 2016 when he shot and injured a 19-year-old who police say was armed with a machete at Odom Elementary School. At the time, Harvel was assigned to Special Operations, but no longer is.
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office says that 2016 case is still being reviewed. Chief of Police Brian Manley says after last year’s shooting, Harvel was placed on administrative leave where he met with a staff psychologist as the department reviewed findings from the initial investigation. Manley says they determined it was appropriate to put Harvel back on duty even as the case moves through the court system.
“We would not have returned Officer Harvel to duty if we had had any concerns over his performance in that incident or his mental well-being after the incident,” Manley tells KXAN. “We will hold an officer back if we have concerns.”