Civil trial begins in case of man shot, killed by APD officers in 2017

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A wrongful death trial for the family of a man shot by Austin police officers in 2017 begins Monday.

Landon Nobles, 24 at the time, was shot and killed by Austin Police Department officers Sgt. Richard Egal and Cor. Maxwell Johnson on May 7, 2017, after a crowd dispersed from in front of bars on East Sixth Street in downtown Austin.

Brian Manley, then-APD police chief, said officers fired at Nobles, because he fired at the officers. The lawsuit said Nobles was shot “in the back multiple times,” and several non-police witnesses said Nobles didn’t even show a gun during the incident and “posed no danger.”

The lawsuit said an unidentified officer “threw a bike in front of Nobles,” and it caused him to fall.

As Nobles, who was Black, tried to regain his balance, the officers opened fire, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also said “at no time did any officer of the Austin Police Department announce their presence of instruct Landon Nobles to stop.”

The two officers, Egal and Johnson, are listed as the defendants in the lawsuit that seeks $15 million in damages. The City of Austin was originally listed as another defendant, but it was removed on July 15, 2021, according to court records.

Attorney Edmund “Skip” Davis is representing the Nobles family. Ida Renae Nobles, Landon’s mother, along with his two children, are listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Davis called three witnesses to the stand Monday: a sound technician who was working downtown the night of May 7, 2017, as well as a cousin and friend of Landon who were with him the night he was shot. All three of them said Landon did not have a gun.

Nicholas Henderson, the second witness to take the stand, said he got into an altercation with a group of people from Houston who started making offensive comments. Henderson said it was around that time he noticed Landon was nearby. Henderson said the fight between himself and the men from Houston stopped when a gunshot rang out in the crowd, according to his testimony Monday.

During opening statements, attorneys for the officers said Halo video and other evidence shows Landon fired that shot into the air. Henderson said Nobles did not have a firearm.

Henderson, along with Roy Nobles, Landon’s cousin who was downtown with the group on May 7, and Chris Futrell, a sound technician who was working downtown that night, all said they did not see Landon turn toward officers before he was shot.

Attorneys for the officers said Landon was a threat to public safety.

Testimony will resume Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. The plaintiffs still have more witnesses to call before the defense calls its witnesses to the stand. The trial is expected to wrap up Thursday or Friday.

Note: There is no recording allowed inside federal court.

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