SAN BENITO — A police officer shot at an armed 21-year-old San Benito man four times, striking him twice, city officials said late Friday afternoon.
Officer Oscar Lara’s body cam footage confirmed Samuel Mata was armed with a pistol when he was fatally shot in front of his home at 531 East Powers St. at about 11 p.m. Aug. 19, officials stated in a press release.
“In response to numerous news reports and articles regarding the officer-involved shooting that occurred on Aug. 19, the city of San Benito issues this updated press release in order to provide additional information and clarification regarding conflicting statements and reports,” the press release states.
A citizen called police to report a “disturbance” when Lara found Mata and his mother Nora Lugo “in heated argument with each other as Lugo was physically trying to remove Mata from the driver seat of the running vehicle,” the press release states.
“The officer attempted to separate the two from each other and while doing so he observed Mata pull out a pistol. The officer backed away and removed his duty weapon from its holster,” it states.
“As Mata was exiting the vehicle, he pointed the pistol he was holding in the direction of Lugo and then the officer. The officer discharged his duty weapon at Mata. Mata ran around the front of the vehicle as the officer ran around the rear of the vehicle. Throughout the incident, the officer discharged four rounds, striking Mata two times. Mata died from his injuries.”
Officials stated body cam footage confirms Mata was armed.
“Body camera and police vehicle camera footage confirm the presence of the pistol at the scene,” the press release states, adding officials turned over the pistol and camera footage to the Texas Rangers, who are investigating the case.
Last week, Lugo said she didn’t see her son with a gun as she was reaching into her van to turn off its ignition switch.
“It was a matter of seconds,” she said, referring to the shooting.