AUSTIN (KXAN) — A father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Austin and two Austin Police Department officers, claiming they used excessive force when the officers shot and killed his son while he was having a mental breakdown in 2019.
Dr. Mauris DeSilva was shot by Officers Karl Krycia and Christopher Taylor while suffering from a mental health episode on July 31, 2019, at his condominium on Bowie Street. A third officer had fired a stun gun. DeSilva was taken to the hospital where he died. He was 46.
Past reports from APD say DeSilva was holding a knife up to his neck. He did move the knife to his side when asked, APD previously stated, but stepped toward officers with the knife in hand when the shots were fired.
The lawsuit claims APD knew of DeSilva’s increasing mental health issues. The lawsuit says he “required an ’emotionally disturbed person’ intervention” by APD officers in May 2019 and was committed on emergency detention on July 7, the same month as the shooting.
The day of DeSilva’s death, the lawsuit says a neighbor had originally called 911 to request a mental health officer’s assistance. Even though a mental health officer was on duty and available to respond, they did not, the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit also says the taser from the third officer was fired first.
“Rather than wait and see if the less lethal taser shot would be effective, Officers Taylor and Krycia simultaneously fired multiple shots at DeSilva,” the lawsuit reads.
It also says Taylor and Krycia had “no basis to reasonably believe” that their lives or the lives of others present were in danger.
The lawsuit points to a lack of training and poor policies within APD when dealing with mental health situations, saying “APD has a history of using deadly force against unarmed non-white males.”
DeSilva’s father is suing for funeral and burial expenses.
Officer Taylor was also involved in the Mike Ramos shooting, which happened about nine months after the DeSilva shooting. Both cases are pending in the Civil Rights Division of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
Officer Taylor’s attorney did not want to comment on the lawsuit.
KXAN has reached out to the City of Austin as well. We will update this story when we hear back.