AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Two Texas police officers, including one already under a murder indictment, were indicted Friday in the July 2019 shooting of an Austin scientist who neighbors reported as having a mental health crisis.
A special Travis County grand jury indicted Austin police officers Christopher Taylor and Karl Krycia on murder and deadly conduct counts in the shooting death of Mauris de Silva. The shooting happened after neighbors in a downtown condominium building reported de Silva was having a psychotic break and holding a knife to his neck.
According to police reports, Taylor, Krycia and a third officer confronted de Silva and told him to drop the knife. When De Silva lowered the knife to his side and advanced toward the officers, Taylor and Krycia shot him while the third officer fired a stun gun.
Both Taylor and Krycia are free on their own recognizance and are on leave from the police force. “To protect the integrity of the criminal proceedings in this matter, APD has delayed reaching any conclusion in its administrative review of the Officers’ actions,” the police department said in a statement.
Taylor’s attorneys issued a statement defending his actions, saying he had no choice but to use deadly force to protect himself. They predicted a jury acquittal and complained that Travis County District Attorney José Garza refused to let the grand jury hear from a use-of-force expert who had reviewed the case and found the shooting justified.
“Until now we have refrained from accusing District Attorney José Garza of waging a war on police officers. After today’s two new murder indictments, we do not know how else to characterize what he is doing,” said Austin lawyers Ken Ervin and Doug O’Connell in the joint statement.
The District Attorney’s Office responded in a statement that the allegations leveled by Taylor’s attorneys are false. It was not immediately clear if Krycia has an attorney.
Taylor already was under a murder indictment in the April 2020 shooting death of Michael Ramos, who was unarmed and shot as he started to drive away from a possible drug bust.
Police said officers were investigating reports of people in a car, including an armed man, doing drugs when they encountered Ramos.
Manley said Ramos got out of the car with his hands up and his shirt raised as if to show he had no gun in his waistband, but then ignored officer’s orders to remain outside the car and was shot first with a beanbag, then as he drove away, Taylor shot him with a rifle.