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Police issue statement, say man killed was armed

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

“I conclude with sincere condolences to the Malachi Williams family,” said San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge in a statement released Monday. “This is not an outcome that anyone wants, including us.”

The San Marcos Police Department posted the 11 minute video statement on their Facebook page. Neither the press nor the public were in attendance.

On April 11, there was an officer involved shooting with the San Marcos Police Department that resulted in the death of 22-year-old Malachi Williams. According to SMPD’s statement, Williams was running with a knife toward an occupied business, which Standridge said is confirmed by footage from an officer’s body-worn camera and an “independent witness.” That footage has not yet been released publicly. Standridge added that both of the initially reported knives were recovered at the scene of the shooting. He described them as kitchen knives with an eight inch blade.

Standridge said the San Marcos Police Department’s Use of Force Policy 6.1 — Response to Resistance and Aggression states the use of force must be objectively reasonable and that deadly force may only be used to achieve lawful objectives. He said these objectives include to protect the officer or others from what is reasonably believed by the officer at the time to be an immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury and to prevent the escape of a fleeing violent person whom the officer has probable cause to believe will pose a significant threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or others.

“This policy was written with citizen input after the city council appointed a committee to work with the police department to draft it,” Standridge said.

Standridge said the footage cannot be released under Texas Governmental Code Chapter 552, because “this video footage is considered evidence in a pending criminal investigation.” There are three agencies currently conducting investigations. Standridge said the Texas Rangers Division is conducting an independent criminal investigation, and the San Marcos Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and Office of Professional Conduct are conducting concurrent investigations. He said there are two potential outcomes, and therefore two different points in time in which the video could be released.

“In some cases, their criminal proceedings are concluded after a grand jury issues a no-bill and the district attorney’s subsequently declines to prosecute anyone involved in the incident. In other cases, a grand jury may indict persons involved in the incident that resulted in the use of force,” Standridge said. “First condition [is] if the officer is [issued a] no bill, meaning there is no criminal action taken. The city council will be notified in a timely manner and body worn camera video will be released once a final report has [been] received from the district attorney. Secondly, if the officer is indicted, meaning criminal charges are filed, that counsel update will be provided in a timely manner. However, videos will remain protected as evidence pending final adjudication.”

Standridge said he has received many questions related to this incident and would attempt to answer many of those questions “while recognizing that we all have to know that there’s still a full comprehensive legal review that has to occur.”

Standridge said on April 11 SMPD received a call reporting that the caller had been threatened with two knives. He said upon being dispatched, the officers learned that there were two people who reported to have been threatened with knives, and the individuals were related. Officers were told that the two people had previously been purchasing items at a nearby convenience store with the intent of walking home.

“A male unknown to them was also at the store but was standing outside the entire time. We learned this by reviewing the store’s cameras,” Standridge said. “The suspect immediately followed them, [which] the victim described as close to three to four feet from them. This caused immediate alarm. They communicated to each other in Spanish that they feared this guy was following them. They stopped several times hoping the suspect would continue walking. When he did not, that caused more fear.”

Standridge said that the two individuals decided to pass their home so that the person following them did not know where they lived. While walking past their home, they called another family member inside their residence, and he came outside. He said, at that point, the suspect was across the street from the two individuals and one house away from where they lived.

“This suspect then pulled out two knives and threatened both of them. They told police they feared for their lives,” Standridge said. “They made the decision to hurriedly cross the street and try to reach the third family member and get inside the home. They were able to get inside whereupon they called 911.”

Standridge said the suspect was eventually located at the same convenience store by another officer who was told by the clerk that Williams was in the bathroom, so the officer waited for him outside of the door.

“Body-worn camera video footage shows the officer asking the suspect to place his hands behind his back. The suspect refuses and instead moves toward the officer,” Standridge said. “It should be noted that this officer had spoken to both victims earlier, and he was advised over the radio that the suspect was believed to be armed with two knives. So the officer created space.”

Standridge said Williams came toward the officer who backed out of the store and into the parking lot, at which point Williams fled on foot.

“The officer tried to use a taser. However, neither probe connected likely because both persons were in a fast sprint, and the probes only go out 25 feet in distance. Distances between the two of them in this pursuit exceeded 25 feet for most of the time,” Standridge said. “A second Taser was attempted by the pursuing officer once they were on Hopkins Street. The probes did not connect. The officer saw the suspect was now wielding at least one knife in his hand. Video evidence confirms this as does an independent witness.”

Standridge said the pursuit continued across the street and spanned approximately a quarter mile heading toward an occupied business with 10 or more people outside, many of which were on foot as he said is confirmed by witness statements and video footage. He said the officer, who had discharged both taser tips previously, then discharged his firearm striking Williams. He said there was another officer in pursuit further behind that did not discharge a weapon.

Standridge said officers and an on duty fire marshal, who is a paramedic, began treating Williams. He was later pronounced deceased at a nearby hospital.

Standridge said Williams is unhoused and “a records check shows no mental health services were received in Texas from any local mental health authority.” He said the San Marcos Police Department has previously contacted Williams on calls related to homelessness and walking down Interstate 35, which presented traffic hazard concerns.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666