LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — A Kansas police officer who fatally shot a man in an SUV outside the man’s home six months ago has been fired for violating department policy in the shooting, a police chief said Monday.
Leavenworth Police Chief Patrick Kitchens said in an email that Officer Matthew Harrington was terminated Friday for violating the department’s use of deadly force policy in the shooting that killed 47-year-old Antonio Garcia Jr. Prosecutors are still reviewing the case.
“It was my conclusion the use of deadly force was unreasonable,” Kitchens said.
Police have provided few details about what led up to the shooting, including whether Garcia was armed. It happened after Harrington responded in July to a domestic argument at Garcia’s home over possession of an SUV that initially was reported as stolen, according to police. Garcia left before Harrington arrived, then returned and had an “encounter” with Harrington in the driveway, according to a news release from police. Garcia was shot while in the SUV.
Harrington doesn’t have a listed phone number. His attorney, Jeff Kratofil, didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.
Leavenworth County prosecutor Todd Thompson said in a news release that his staff hopes to complete its review soon, noting that his office is awaiting requested information. Thompson’s release noted that the criminal investigation is separate from the police inquiry.
“The standard for terminating an employee based on upon professional standards is also a much lower burden than the burden used to charge and/or convict someone of a crime,” the release said. “We have an ethical duty to do our best to fully vet a matter before we file charges on anyone.”
Gina Mays, who raised Garcia starting when he was a teen, told The Kansas City Star that Garcia “did not deserve to die” and that the family wanted to see body camera footage.
“We’re all hoping to see this,” Mays said. “I want answers like everyone else. There is a man dead here because of neglect.”
Kitchens said police aren’t releasing body camera footage because the investigation is ongoing and it’s classified as evidence.