On Saturday, Dec. 6, family and friends of slain University of the Incarnate Word honors student Robert Cameron Redus will hold a candlelight vigil in Brackenridge Park at 7 p.m. to mark the one year anniversary of his death.
The Redus Family drove home to Baytown last week under the impression that, despite losing its bid to have the Redus’ civil case tried in federal court, UIW would grant them permission to hold the vigil on campus at Cameron’s memorial plaque and tree. Instead, UIW representatives told the Redus family earlier this week that a university-approved vigil – at that location – will take place on Friday, Dec. 5, at 6:30 p.m. Since a Saturday gathering can not take place on campus, and the family had already made travel plans around Dec. 6, organizers scrambled to find a new location.
Brackenridge Park is located just south of UIW. The vigil will be open to the public and located close to the park entrance off of E. Hildebrand Avenue. See map below:
“I don’t know how many people know about (the UIW vigil on Friday) or will attend … but the 6th is the 6th and they wouldn’t give authorization so we’ll just do our own thing,” said Stephanie Leihsing, a vigil organizer and whose son, Kyle, was friends with Cameron. “We can’t change the calendar.”
A couple of Cameron’s friends will sing, some family and friends will say a few words. There’s some structure to the gathering, Leihsing said, but “I think we’re going to let it unfold as it unfolds … we just wanted to provide a comforting experience for the family. It’s been a tough year and not a lot has changed.”
She will be bringing tea candles and clear plastic cups to pass around to all.
Cameron, 23, was intoxicated and unarmed on Dec. 6, 2013 when he was fatally shot outside his Alamo Heights apartment by UIW police officer Christopher Carter. Carter shot Redus five times at close range.
Carter has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting. District Attorney Susan Reed has not spoken publicly about the case or when it will be presented to a grand jury.
An official autopsy appears to contradict Carter’s claims that he shot Redus as he was charged in the course of a physical struggle as the student resisted arrest. One shot appears to have been fired into the student’s back, and another through his eye, exiting his lower neck, as if Carter were standing above Redus and pointing his weapon down at him as he fired.
Cameron was allegedly driving erratically after an evening of semester-ending bar hopping with a friend when Carter, returning to campus from a nearby fast food franchise, decided to pursue him north along Broadway to his apartment complex. A confrontation ensued when Carter moved to arrest Redus. Carter said the two began to struggle over the policeman’s baton, which he said he lost control of at one point.
Another resident in the complex heard the unarmed Redus ask mockingly if Carter was going to shoot him. Moments later, he did, firing six times, five of the bullets striking the unarmed student who died at the scene. UIW officials have since defended Carter’s actions as justifiable, claiming he feared for his life.
University officials also have defended Carter’s decision to pursue the vehicle, even though he was on an off-campus meal run and did not know the driver was a student. UIW claims its officers have legal jurisdiction to patrol and police the Alamo Heights community. Carter himself has come under scrutiny after it was disclosed that he has worked for at least eight different employers in the last 10 years, seldom holding a job for long.
UIW and the Alamo Heights Police have sought to prevent an audio recording of the altercation between Carter and Redus from being released to the media or the public, and have refused requests to discuss the discrepancies between the autopsy report findings and initial incident report provided by Carter, which was supported by the Alamo Heights police. The vehicle’s forward camera that would have recorded a video of the fatal shooting was not functioning, according to UIW.
Read more about Cameron Redus’ life, death, and family’s lawsuit here.
*Featured/top image: A photo of Robert Cameron Redus posted to a memorial Facebook page in Redus’ honor.