AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin City Council approved a $1 millionsettlement Thursday in the officer-involved shooting death ofDaniel Rocha, 18, during a traffic stop in 2005.
Interviews during the incident were released to the media inDecember 2005, shedding light on the events that unraveled fatalnight. They also provided details that then-Chief Stan Knee used indeciding to fire former Austin Police Department Officer JulieSchroeder, who fired the fatal shot into Rocha's back. Anarbitrator upheld Knee's decision.
Among the tapes was a surveillance video from five days beforeRocha's death that shows him stealing a woman's purse at aMcDonald's. At the time, cops were on the lookout for him.
On June 10, the day after she shot Rocha, Schroeder toldhomicide detectives what happened when she stopped Rocha and hisfriends at Pleasant Valley Drive and Quicksilver Boulevard.
"I was in fear. Here was this kid fighting so hard," Schroedersaid at the time on one of the interview tapes. "He hadoverpowered both of us, starting from inside a car."
Richard Ulfeng, who was in the car with Rocha that night andfled the scene, told homicide detectives he and his friends hadbeen smoking pot minutes before and had just done a drug deal. WhenSchroeder and her police partner stopped them, the triopanicked.
"I immediately opened the door and ran out," Ulfeng said. "Iremember looking back and seeing Daniel's face looking at me. Iheard a gunshot."
Driver Donny Hernandez also told his story in one of thetapes.
"She told me to get out of the car," Hernandez said. "I asked,'Should I put it in park?' When I did, that's when I heard the shotgo off."
Neither man disputed the fact Rocha put up a fight, althoughUlfeng did tell detectives Rocha had just told him that morning hewanted to turn himself in and "get his life straight." Schroedersaid that was certainly not his attitude the night of theshooting.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
A 55-year-old man died in a single-vehicle crash just after midnight Monday morning near Lakeway.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.