Houston police fatally shot Frank Ernest Shepard III Wednesday morning following a high-speed chase, local media reports.
The incident was caught on camera by ABC13 which was covering the chase via a helicopter.
“During the chase the suspect called 911 and was telling the dispatcher that he had a child in the car and that he would threaten to harm that child if officers attempted to pull him over or stop him,” said Deputy Thomas Gilliland, spokesperson for Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Shepard did not have a child in the car. After smashing into an oncoming vehicle during the police pursuit, Shepard got out of the car. That’s when police confronted him.
“He was given commands to show his hands and come out of the vehicle,” said Deputy Gilliland. “As officers approached after the initial contact of the wreck, the suspect exited the vehicle and stood up, came back towards the officers, then turned around and reached back inside the vehicle.”
“At this point, the top part of his body was hidden inside the vehicle,” continued Gilliland. “Fearing for their lives that the suspect was reaching for a weapon, two officers did discharge their weapon at the vehicle, striking the suspect and killing him.”
Shepard, a father of three with another child on the way, was 41 years old. Police did not find a weapon on his person. Shepard worked as a barber. He had a criminal history, which included a conviction for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and unlawful carrying of a weapon in 1991 and a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and escaping from custody in 1999. In 2011, he was charged with assaulting a coworker and in 2013 he was charged with assaulting a family member.
Following his 1991 conviction he spent five years in jail. There was a warrant for his arrest stemming from the 2013 charge. Family members believe that’s why Shepard fled police during the routine traffic stop.
The victim’s mother, Cheryl Shephard, spoke with her son shortly before he died.
“He said, ‘Bye, I love you.’ He just called to tell me he loved me,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on at first. I told him I love him, what’s going on? And that’s when he told me that the police was chasing him, and then immediately I went to pray and said, stop please, stop,” she said.
Cheryl begged her son to pull over and comply with the officers.
“I told him to stop. Stop the car Trey. Get get out the car Trey please. Don’t do this please don’t do this baby,” she said.
Unfortunately, Shepard didn’t listen and Cheryl watched as police fatally shot him on live TV.
“They did not have to shoot him,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “They could’ve stayed in their cars and started running demands.”