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Corpus Christi man shot by police gets nearly $3 million in settlement

City Council recently agreed in a lawsuit filed on behalf of 23-year-old Richard Salazar.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A man shot by Corpus Christi police in March of 2019 will get paid out nearly $3 million by the city.

City Council recently agreed in a lawsuit filed on behalf of 23-year-old Richard Salazar.

In March of 2019, officers were looking for suspects who robbed a convenience store when they came upon Salazar outside of his home on the city's westside, mistaking him for one of the suspects.

Salazar just recently had surgery to remove the hernia the size of a basketball. The operation is just one of many surgeries he's had since he was shot four times by police.

"They hit him four out of nine shots. I mean, at some point you should stop, you know," attorney Rene Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez talked about the case that led to his client in the hospital and a Corpus Christi police officer on administrative leave.

"I don't blame him. He has some mental health issues," Rodriguez said. 

According to police, in March, officers Robert Cantu and Jacqueline DeLeon approached Salazar as they were looking for some robbery suspects. The officers say Salazar matched the description, and when they asked him to show his hands, one officer mistook what ended up being a lighter for a weapon. Cantu opened fire, hitting Salazar. 

"Something happened that in his mind that wasn't working right that if he would have gotten treated, it wouldn't have happened, but it did," Rodriguez said. 

"This individual turned out to not be one of the suspects involved in the robberies," Police Chief Mike Markle said. 

Rodriguez says officer Cantu was part of another officer-involved shooting. 

"They put him back on the street fairly quickly, and in this case, they did the same thing. What they should have done was mental health treatment. They need to see their doctors," Rodriguez said. 

In July, a grand jury decided not to indict Cantu, and it was a decision Rodriguez agreed with.

According to Rodriguez, his client deserved compensation for everything he had been through.

"You look at the medical bills. You look at the injuries. Are the injuries permanent? Are they temporary? How long will they last? Is he going to need future medical treatment? Does he need future psychological help," Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against the city seeking $12.5 million, and on Tuesday, City Council motioned to provide all documents to settle the case for less than $2.9 million.

"The city or the taxpayers paid about $428,000, and that's taxpayer money," Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez says the rest of the money is insurance.

"I blame the city. The city should be doing a lot to help our first responders," Rodriguez said. 

3News reached out to the City of Corpus Christi, who say they couldn't comment because the settlement was still under legal review.

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