Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fatal shooting leaves unanswered questions for family and birth country of Shelbyville resident Fermin Estrada

"It's a couple of Mexicans" ... missing audio on police tape ... officer who pulled the trigger is back on duty ... DA says no wrongdoing

NewsChannel5 reports here and here that the fatal shooting of Shelbyville resident Fermin Estrada by local law enforcement has been investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, but Estrada's family and the Mexican consulate have not been able to obtain the report. Estrada's death was one of three violent killings of Hispanic men that made headlines in Middle Tennessee this past March (story here).

"During a family barbeque, Fermin Estrada walked two friends around his own property. ... A neighbor saw the three men and called 911."

"Caller: It's a couple of Mexicans walking on the back of my property, and one of them has a gun shoved in his side.
Dispatcher: And was he on your property?
Caller: He was right on the property line."

"NewsChannel 5 Investigates obtained in-car police video from the scene. You can hear officers arrive on scene and speak to the neighbor. Police reports show Officer James Wilkerson then grabs his assault rifle and heads to the woods."

"Shelbyville Officer James Wilkerson shot and killed Fermin Estrada in front of his family in his backyard ... [t]he family and witnesses maintain police never identified themselves."

"Police said they did and they added Fermin fired towards the officers -- and that's why they shot."

"[T]he one piece of evidence that would clear things up and determine whether the officers identified themselves is missing."

"On the tape released by police, the audio goes silent right before the shooting."

"Eight months later, the the Shelbyville officer who pulled the trigger is back on full duty."

"Lawyers filed a wrongful death lawsuit ... late Thursday."

"Now, the Mexican Consulate is getting involved. It wants the FBI to investigate. Since Fermin Estrada was a Mexican national as well as a U.S. citizen, the consulate feels it has a duty to see that justice is carried out."

"The [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] conducted the only official report into the officers' actions. Under state law, the TBI can't release it. The district attorney who has seen the report won't comment. The police chief hasn't seen it, but said the DA assured him his officer did nothing wrong."

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