HC: Supreme Court Won't Review Police Fatal Shooting of Suicidal Teen

High Court Won't Review Police Shooting That Killed Mentally Ill Teen

By Allan Turner  Houston Chronicle  October 1, 2012 


The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review lower court decisions that found a Dallas-area policeman blameless in the March 2009 fatal shooting of a mentally ill, suicidal teenage boy.


The case centered on the death of Ruddy Elizondo, 17, who was shot three times by Garland police officer William Green after advancing on the officer with a knife. A Dallas federal court found Green justified in using deadly force, and the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.


In a petition asking for a review of the decisions, Houston lawyer Martin Siegel, argued that the New Orleans appeals court considered only whether Green's life was in danger at the time he shot the teen.


"We're disappointed the court chose not to review the case," Siegel said. "Police are increasingly first responders to people suffering through mental health crises, so we hope the court eventually clarifies the standards for using force in those encounters."


Garland City Attorney Brad Neighbor said, "We are pleased with the result and believe that it is correct," he said.


According to court records, Green responded to a suicide call at the Elizondo family home, where he found the youth lying intoxicated on his bed, talking on a cell phone and holding a knife.


Green demanded the teen drop the weapon. When Elizondo tried to close his door, the officer pushed it back open. Stepping toward the officer, Elizondo told the policeman to kill him. Green responded that he would shoot if Elizondo continued to advance. The teen raised his knife and again stepped toward the officer, who fired three times.