DeSoto Police Released Man With Mental Health Issues Just Before Fatal Shooting

Officer-involved shooting remains under investigation

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A man shot to death by DeSoto Police Monday had been released from the DeSoto jail just blocks away from the shooting, less than three hours before his fatal encounter with other officers, DeSoto Chief Joe Costa said Friday.

And Costa confirmed his department’s Care Team officers, who deal with mental health issues, had been working with the mother of 47-year-old Michael Nunez to keep him in jail.

Costa said officers responding to a burglary call knew none of that background.

“Little did we know at that time that the subject that was involved was the same subject, Michael Nunez,” Costa said.

Friday, DeSoto Police released dashcam and bodycam video that shows officers arriving at the burglary call location on Polk Street.

The man later identified as Nunez is seen with a piece of metal that the officer thought was a knife according to his statement in the video.

The officer is heard giving a verbal command to drop the knife as Nunez advances and then shots are fired. The video shows officers giving Nunez first aid after he is wounded.

Police also released a 911 call in which the resident tells police to hurry to the scene, the man was in her house. He had gone outside by the time police arrived.

Costa said it could be justified to use lethal force against a man with a knife, but separate criminal and administrative investigations are ongoing.

DeSoto Police Chief Joe Costa confirmed Friday that Michael Nunez had been released from the DeSoto jail just blocks away from where a confrontation with police ended with him fatally shot by an officer.

The Dallas Independent School District confirmed that Nunez was a teacher at Molina High School.

A close friend told NBC 5 that Nunez developed a mental health issue “out of the blue” about a week before the fatal encounter with police.

Costa said Nunez was jailed Sunday night before the shooting after acting erratically in a DeSoto park. He said the Care Team officers tried to keep Nunez in jail the next day.

“The officers with the Care Team didn’t realize he’d already been released. They were working with the mother and they called the jail to hold up his release but he had already been released,” Costa said.

DeSoto officials extended condolences Friday to the man’s family.

“The tragic events that took place Monday need to be addressed for transparency and for healing,” DeSoto Mayor Rachel Proctor said. “I believe that no one ever wants to lose a loved one, especially under such tragic circumstances.”

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