AUSTIN (KXAN) — A woman shot and killed by an officer last week as she walked toward police with a knife has been identified as 20-year-old Leslie Yolanda Salazar.
Officer Thomas Brown, who has been with the Austin Police Department for three years, was identified by APD as the officer who fired his weapon.
Brown has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting in a southeast Austin home in the early hours of Thursday, June 7.
The department’s Internal Affairs Unit is carrying out the administrative investigation, monitored by the Office of the Police Monitor.
APD’s Special Investigation Unit and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office is carrying out their own investigation.
A 911 caller told police that her cousin was chasing her with a knife because of a prior disturbance and because her cousin was drunk.
Interim Chief of Police Brian Manley said officers entered the home in the 7300 block of South Glenn Street — near Burleson Road and McKinney Falls Parkway — and, when they walked toward the kitchen while calling Salazar’s name, she came walking around the corner with a knife.
“Immediately you can see them backing up on their body cameras, giving the command to drop the knife. She continues to walk in their direction and at that point, one officer fired his weapon and the suspect at that point does go down on the ground,” said Manley.
On Monday afternoon, Salazar’s father, Daniel McGarvey II messaged back and forth with a KXAN reporter. He questioned why the officer needed to use lethal force.
“Leslie wasn’t a threat to anyone,” McGarvey wrote. “She weighed at the most 95 pounds. I’m prior military and can easily disarm a 300-pound man without issue. Disarming her wouldn’t have been difficult. At the most the officer could’ve tased or pepper sprayed her instead. Killing her wasn’t justified.”
McGarvey II went on to write, “I do have empathy for the officer involved with her death and hope he will one day find peace with his horrible decision. I realize it must be hard on him as well.”
Chief Manley called the shooting “tragic” and said he spoke briefly with the officer who fired his weapon and could tell the officer was “very impacted” by what happened.