Student hit police officer with officer's own baton, university says
University says Cpl. Christopher Carter now on administrative leave
Police: Campus officer said Robert Cameron Redus struggled with him
Friends: Redus was co-valedictorian of Christian high school
Those who know him call him the “gentlest person,” but campus police said Monday that a 23-year-old student at a San Antonio-area Christian college took an officer’s police baton and struck him before the officer fatally shot him.
There is no dashboard video available, according to the university.
The incident began when Cpl. Christopher Carter, a police officer with the University of the Incarnate Word in Alamo Heights, saw Robert Cameron Redus near campus “driving erratically at a high rate of speed” Friday, a university statement said.
“Carter was obligated to pull the suspect over to ensure the public’s safety,” the statement said.
Redus pulled into an apartment complex, and Carter followed, mistakenly reporting the wrong street location to police dispatchers, which prompted his call to be routed from the Alamo Heights Police Department to its San Antonio counterparts, the statement said. This caused a delay of several minutes in response time.
“During the wait for assistance, the officer tried to restrain the suspect who repeatedly resisted,” the statement said. “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 officer drew his firearm and was able to knock the baton from the suspect who continued to resist arrest. Shots were fired.”
Redus did not identify himself, the university said, and there is “no evidence” the officer knew he was a student or where Redus lived.
University police vehicles are typically equipped with dashboard cameras, but Carter’s vehicle joined the fleet two days before the incident, and its camera fell off the next day when a temperature change prevented the glue from setting, the school said.
“Officers had made arrangements to have it remounted,” the statement said.
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.”
Friends at the school say the Cameron Redus they know isn’t the type to attack police.
They knew a student who made the dean’s list at the Catholic college and had been co-valedictorian of a Christian high school back home in Baytown, Texas. They knew a fun-loving campus television news anchor who was “the sweetest, kindest, gentlest person,” as friend Annie Jones described him to CNN affiliate WOAI-TV.
A resident of Redus’ apartment complex, 22-year-old Mohammad Haidarasl, told the San Antonio Express-News that Redus was his upstairs neighbor.
Haidarasl told the paper he was on his apartment sofa at 2 a.m. when he heard noise outside, and a voice he believes to have been 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, he said, he heard shots.
Alamo Heights police acknowledged the officer fired several shots. But they would not discuss other details of the alleged struggle, citing the ongoing investigation.
The university said it was awaiting the results of the Alamo Heights police probe, which is being conducted with assistance from the Texas Rangers.
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.”
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.”
The university released a statement saying it, too, “is deeply upset over the loss of life regardless of the circumstances.” It further said this was the first shooting in university history.
Hundreds of people, including relatives of Redus, gathered at the university’s convocation center Saturday for a vigil. Students brought a slideshow of Redus in happy poses.
“It makes me feel better that we’ve got a lot of support for Cameron,” classmate Albert Salinas said outside the event in an interview with CNN affiliate KSAT-TV.
But they left with no better idea of what happened to their friend.
CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin, David Simpson and George Howell contributed to this report.