Winter Texan: Police didn’t have to kill mentally ill son

MISSION — David Green, 67, stood outside his mobile home Tuesday afternoon as his 38-year-old son sped by in his Ford F-350 truck moments before he was shot to death by police a few blocks down the street.

“He came around and beeped the horn and smiled at me,” said David. “He never left the park. He just kept driving around and around in circles.”

His son, David Green II, was killed about 2 p.m. inside the Wagon City South mobile home park on North Conway Avenue after an officer involved shooting.

According to police, Green II was armed with a machete and an ax and refused to stop after he nearly ran over a police officer twice and crashed into a patrol car. After a short chase around the park, Green II backed up into a mobile home and got the truck stuck on a tree, but he kept revving the engine and ignoring the officers yelling at him to stop.

He was shot multiple times by officers and pronounced dead at the scene.

His father said Friday police mishandled the situation and jeopardized the lives of the all the residents in the mobile home park and also disregarded his warning to them about his son’s mental illness.

“He was bipolar and schizophrenic. He was sick and they murdered him,” Green said. “My biggest mistake was calling the cops that day. They shot all over in here; you can’t just pull out a gun and start shooting in a residential area.”

The Texas Rangers are currently investigating the shooting and have not released any details about his son’s death.

Green sat on his front porch Friday afternoon wearing the same baseball cap his son wore when he was killed. Holding a box with his son’s ashes on his lap and with tears in his eyes he recalled the moments that led to his son’s death.

“All I know is I lost my son, and it shouldn’t have happened,” Green said. “Now he is sitting right here in a box, and I have to take him home.”

Green, a Winter Texan, has been escaping the harsh winter weather in his hometown of Battle Creek Michigan by driving his Harley Davidson motorcycle down here for the past 13 years. This was the first time his son joined him.

“He called me one day crying, and I told him to come down here to chill out and relax,” Green said. “I told him how warm it was and told him ‘you don’t have to fight that snow.’ They just got 12 inches the other day.”

His son arrived to the Rio Grande Valley three weeks ago and the two started making plans to go to Nuevo Progreso and visit other parts of Mexico, but first they needed to make sure his son had enough medication.

According to Green, his son’s insurance was not valid in Texas, so his daughter had to get his prescription refilled in Michigan and was going to mail it down last week. Tuesday, his son had been out of medicine for three days.

“I’m not going to lie to you, he would get hot and would want to fight people when he was off,” Green said. “And that boy could do some damage. He was 6’3” and weighed 185 pounds.”

The day of the shooting, Green II was saying he wanted to go back home, and even though Green tried to calm his son down, he lost control and his son’s mental state began to decline, Green said.

“He kept saying ‘I’m 43 years old. I don’t have any kids. I don’t have nothing,’ and I would tell him, ‘Son you are only 38. You are young. All of that will come. You have to learn to take care of yourself first,’” Green said.

His son spent 17 years locked up in a mental institution after pleading insanity at the age of 17 for assaulting several police officers in a courthouse, according to Sunny Green Balizet, 42, Green’s daughter.

“When my brother took the right medication, he was so soft-hearted,” Balizet said. “He would do anything for anybody.”

“He was always saying he was cheated in his life, and he wanted a family and kids so bad. He loved my kids so much, but we knew he couldn’t take care of any kids,” she added.

Sunny remembers when her brother was released from the mental hospital in Auburn, Michigan, a few years ago, he would still act like a teenager and did not know how to do many things like use a microwave.

Tuesday, Green tried to calm his son down by reminding him of things they enjoyed doing together, like playing baseball, hunting or fishing, but his son had gone over the edge. Green remembers his 38-year-old son grabbing his neck in a chokehold and both of them going down to the floor.

While on the floor, his son hammered his elbow into the back of Green’s head and tried to break the 67-year-old’s neck before saying he was going to go get an ax to kill him, Green said.

“That’s when I got up and ran out the door, and I ran to my neighbor’s house and I used my neighbor’s phone to dial 911,” Green said. “I told them my son is a mental patient having problems, and he is terrorizing over here.”

“Now I wish I would have never called the police,” he added.

An officer arrived about 1:41 p.m. to their home in the 200 block of Stage Coach Drive and saw Green II outside with a machete.

The officer ordered him to drop the weapon, but Green II refused and instead jumped into his father’s red truck and drove it straight toward the officer’s patrol car parked in front of the driveway with the officer standing right next to it, Green said.

The truck crashed into the officer’s patrol unit, disabling it and missing the officer by a few feet, according to Green.

“He did try to kill that police officer out there. He tried to run over him twice. I saw it,” Green said.

The officer fired three shots before his son sped away, setting off a chase with other officers around the enclosed mobile home park, near the intersection of North Conway Avenue and Griffin Parkway.

After a short chase, Green II ended up back where he started, in front of his father’s home. The officer he tried running over stooad in the street with his patrol rifle loaded yelling at Green II to stop, but he revved the engine and charged at him with the truck.

The officer opened fire on Green II once again. Five orange circles remained painted on the street Friday afternoon where officers recovered shell casings and evidence across the street from Green’s home.

Despite being shot at twice, Green II kept driving around the park. As he neared the only exit to the park on North Conway, he veered off the road and the truck became lodged in a small tree or bush, according to police.

Officers yelled at Green II to stop but he kept trying to dislodge the truck and backed into a mobile home located directly in front of the park’s recreation hall.

“At this point, the officers again fired on him, telling him repeatedly to stop, but he didn’t,” said Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez on Tuesday afternoon.

Green heard the gunshots from his home a few blocks away where he remained during the entire ordeal. He asked officers at the scene multiple times what had happened to his son, but they would not give him any information. They offered to take him to the hospital to receive medical care but he refused to leave the scene until he knew what had happened, Green said.

While in doubt about his son’s wellbeing, Green called his daughter Sunny in Michigan and told her what was happening. She said she called the police to try and get information but the family ended up getting their news from the internet after her daughter found a post online that showed Green II dead on the street.

“I got sick, and I puked,” Sunny said, “We immediately jumped in the truck and drove down 25 hours to be here because my father was all alone.”

“When I got here, I went down to where he died and laid in the grass and curled up into a ball and cried,” she added.

Green said he does not blame the officer for opening fire after his son nearly ran him over twice, but he feels they were out of line when the truck was no longer moving.

Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez said during a news conference Tuesday his officers were acting with the safety of the residents in mind and as a standard procedure placed the three officers involved on desk duties until the investigation is completed.

Green said there were other steps police could have taken to prevent the death of his mentally ill son.

“When that truck was stuck and the tire was flat and bent and he couldn’t get out of there, they didn’t have to shoot him,” Green said. “He was not going anywhere at that point and he wasn’t outside of the truck with any kind of weapon, and they just opened fire and shot him up. They busted the window and shot him.”

After packing Green’s and his son’s things, the family began their trip Saturday back to Michigan where they plan to hold a grand ceremony in honor of their dead son, brother and uncle. Before their departure and throughout the week, many neighbors stopped by to say their goodbyes and offer food and money to the family to help get them through their mourning.

“I love South Texas, but I don’t know if I’ll ever come back,” Green said Friday. “This park has been nothing but good to me, and I just want to thank everybody that came by to pay their respects. It means a lot to me and my family.”