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Student told to stop resisting arrest 56 times before fatal shooting, police say

By Joshua Rubin. Ben Brumfield and David Simpson, CNN
updated 11:50 AM EST, Tue December 10, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Student hit police officer with officer's own baton, university and police say
  • University of the Incarnate Word says Cpl. Christopher Carter is now on administrative leave
  • Police say campus officer said Robert Cameron Redus struggled with him
  • Friends: Redus was on college dean's list, was co-valedictorian at his high school

Alamo Heights, Texas (CNN) -- A campus police officer who fatally shot a Catholic-college honor student following a traffic stop told the student to stop resisting arrest 56 times before shooting him five times, police said.

Cpl. Christopher Carter, who is on administrative leave after the shooting, is "very remorseful," police say, but he shot 23-year-old Robert Cameron Redus only after Redus took his police baton and hit him with it.

Carter was able to get his baton back, but Redus then charged him, prompting the University of the Incarnate Word officer to shoot six times, hitting Redus five. Redus was pronounced dead at the scene, Alamo Heights police Chief Richard Pruitt said Monday.

There is no dashboard video of the shooting available, but a microphone recorded sound from the altercation Friday.

It started with a traffic stop. Redus had been drinking, according to a witness, and drove past Carter, who was patrolling in a campus police pickup truck, Pruitt said.

The student sped into a construction zone in "bad weather conditions," he said. Carter followed him.

Redus struck a curb on the right, Carter reported, then swerved left into the opposite lane of traffic, so the officer switched on his emergency lights and pulled him over, Pruitt said.

Redus pulled into the apartment complex where he lived, and Carter followed, but he made a fateful slip.

He reported the wrong street location to police dispatchers, which caused his call to be routed to a police department farther away.

Alamo Heights police could have made it there to assist him sooner, but his call went to their San Antonio counterparts. This caused a delay of several minutes in response time.

He was left alone with Redus, and things went wrong. Had Pruitt's officers, who were closer, been called to respond, Redus might still be alive, the chief said.

The scuffle

By the time Carter got out of his patrol truck, Redus was already walking away from his vehicle, Pruitt said.

Carter later told police that Redus was drunk, and one of the student's friends later confirmed she had been barhopping with him.

Carter ordered Redus to put his hands on his vehicle, and he obeyed, but when the officer pulled out his handcuffs, the student refused to cooperate, Pruitt said.

The two scuffled for more than six minutes. The dashboard camera's mount was not working. It had been glued in place two days before the incident, but the adhesive didn't hold, the school said.

The camera was pointing in the wrong direction, but its microphone recorded the altercation.

"Officer Carter instructed Robert Redus 14 times to place his hands behind his back, and informed him three times that he was under arrest, and to stop resisting 56 times," Pruitt said, referring to the recording.

"During the struggle, the officer attempted to subdue the suspect with his baton. ... The baton was taken by the suspect who used it to hit the officer," the university said in a statement.

Pruitt said the officer had injuries on his arm and head.

Carter was able to wrestle the baton away from Redus, but then the student charged at the officer with his arm raised; Carter warned him four times that he would shoot if Redus did not stop, Pruitt said.

Carter opened fire.

Witnesses

One of Redus' neighbors reportedly heard an argument and the shots.

Mohammad Haidarasl, 22, told the San Antonio Express-News that Redus was his upstairs neighbor and that he was on his apartment sofa at 2 a.m. when he heard noise outside and a voice he believes was the officer's, saying, "Stop resisting, stop resisting."

The newspaper quoted Haidarasl as saying he thought he heard a struggle, and "Then the cop said, 'I'm going to shoot.' "

A male voice replied, " 'Oh, you're gonna shoot me?' like sarcastic almost," Haidarasl said.

Less than a minute later, Haidarasl said, he heard shots.

Pruitt said there were other witnesses who heard and saw parts of the struggle. One of them called police.

Friends at the school say the Cameron Redus they knew wasn't the type to attack police.

They knew a student who made the dean's list at college and had been co-valedictorian at a Christian high school back home in Baytown, Texas, east of Houston. They knew a fun-loving campus television news anchor who was "the sweetest, kindest, gentlest person," Annie Jones told CNN affiliate WOAI-TV.

"That is nothing like him at all," Redus' friend Jonathan Guajardo said. "He is one of the nicest, most caring, compassionate guys ever. Not a mean bone in his body."

Carter, who has "an extensive law enforcement background," has been placed on administrative leave -- standard procedure in these types of incidents, a university statement said, adding that all campus officers "are licensed and trained as certified peace officers by the state of Texas."

Guajardo believes deadly force was unnecessary and grilled Pruitt on the topic at a news conference. He questioned whether Redus was a real threat to Carter, who Pruitt conceded was much taller and heavier.

"The officer is very, very remorseful over this," Pruitt said. "This is not an easy thing for him, I can assure you."

Family devastated

Redus' family released a statement to CNN affiliate KENS-TV saying, "We are understandably devastated by the death of our dear son Cameron and we ask for your prayers as we deal with our tragic loss. We trust that God is faithful and will see us through this most difficult time."

Friends have set up a Facebook page, Cardinals for Cameron (the UIW mascot is a Cardinal), and a memorial fund to assist the family.

University President Lou Agnese said in a statement released to WOAI, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the student and officer involved in this incident."

This was the first shooting in university history, it said.

Hundreds of people, including relatives of Redus, gathered at the university's convocation center Saturday for a vigil. Students brought a slide show of Redus in happy poses and many wore green ribbons, Redus' favorite color.

Shooting leaves 2 high-schoolers dead at house party near Houston

Video captures beating of college student in Atlantic City; student sues cops

Joshua Rubin reported from Alamo Heights, Texas. Ben Brumfield and David Simpson reported and wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Eliott C. McLaughlin and George Howell contributed to this report.

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