Family of Man Shot and Killed By Police Officer File Lawsuit Against City

EL PASO, Texas - The family of an El Paso man who was shot and killed by a police officer has filed a lawsuit against the city of El Paso, the officer and 20 city employees.

Bernardo Gutierrez Morales, 56, was shot and killed by officer Albert Gomez on June 15th, 2012.

The lawsuit alleges Morales' death has yet to be justified by the city of El Paso and claims 20 city employees conspired to keep the victim's family from seeking justice in the courts.

Morales was reportedly picking up pecans from trees lining the canal on the 8400 block of Alameda Street.

Police were called by the owner of a property nearby, who suspected Morales to be a wanted man officers had been asking about earlier that week.

Morales allegedly ran away when he was approached by officer Gomez, then stopped, and walked towards Gomez with a knife.

The officer shot Morales in the chest because he allegedly refused orders to stop.

At the time of the shooting, El Paso police told ABC-7 Morales was homeless and was wanted for running away from a halfway house in Horizon City.

A private investigator hired by Morales' family interviewed several witnesses who said Morales did not have a knife when the officer shot him. They also said they saw Morales walking towards the officer with his hands in the air.

"I did not see anything, weapons, or anything else on the man's hands," said a witness to the investigator, "It seemed to me the police officer and (Morales) were very far apart and that it wasn't necessary for (Morales) to be killed."

The El Paso Police Department and the El Paso City Attorney's office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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