Parents of friends of the slain honors student Robert Cameron Redus plan to gather in front of the University of the Incarnate Word next Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to increase awareness of the December 2013 shooting and to show solidarity with the Redus family.
After eight months, there is still no resolution to the case stemming from the Dec. 6, 2013 off-campus fatal shooting of Redus, who was unarmed, by a campus police officer. An investigation by the Texas Rangers and Alamo Heights Police Department has been turned over to the Bexar County District Attorney’s office, but prosecutors there have not publicly commented on the case and whether it has been presented to a grand jury.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Redus family against UIW and its police officer, Christopher Carter, is pending, with UIW’s attorneys trying to move the case from a state court to federal court. An Oct. 30 hearing on the motion is scheduled to be heard by visiting Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra of Hawaii.
“We want to let them – the university and Cameron’s parents – know that we are not going anywhere,” said Stephanie Leihsing, whose son, Kyle, was friends with Redus. “(UIW) can stonewall, they can stall, but this isn’t going to go away … We’re still here, expecting justice for Cameron.”
Leihsing said the demonstration would be held off campus on public sidewalks so that UIW officials cannot stop it. Participants are encouraged to wear green, Cameron’s favorite color.
“The purpose is to show our support for the Redus family,” she said. “I don’t want UIW to think we’re apathetic … it’s a new school year and some (students) don’t know what happened that night.”
Robert Cameron Redus, who went by his middle name, was a 23-year-old honors student out celebrating the end of finals and the semester with friends the night of the incident. An autopsy report would later show that he was drunk and had traces of marijuana in his system. He was driving home to his off-campus apartment from a bar when Carter said he noticed Redus weaving between lanes and decided to follow him, although he did not know the driver was a UIW student.
University officials have repeatedly claimed Carter had the right as a sworn police office to interrupt his late night food run to a nearby Whataburger and pursue Redus, even though he was off campus and did not know the driver was a UIW student. Carter has been on paid leave since the incident, and in its response to the civil lawsuit UIW officials defended his shooting of Redus as justified.
There are inconsistencies in Carter’s version of events from the point he began to follow Redus north on Broadway through Alamo Heights, but what is not in dispute is that Carter attempted to arrest Redus outside his apartment as he exited his vehicle and a scuffle ensued. Carter said Redus resisted arrest and fought with him before Carter finally fired six shots at close range, striking Redus five times.
Carter described Redus as charging at him with a raised fist when he fired, but the official autopsy determined that two of the shots were fired at point-blank range, one into Redus’ back and the other at a steep downward angle into Redus’ eye, the bullet exiting his lower neck, as if he were kneeling with Carter standing over him.
Neither Carter nor UIW officials have been willing to grant media interviews and address the various inconsistencies in Carter’s version of events.
The Redus family will not attend the demonstration and is not involved in its planning.
“(The demonstration) is not anything we’re planning, or a part of … UIW requested that the Redus’ not go on campus or have contact with UIW staff,” said Mark Hall, a Redus family friend and spokesperson who has been handling media for Cameron’s parents, Valerie and Mikey Redus. “We’re respecting that request. We would hope everybody would maintain a high standard of integrity.”
Hall said the Redus family shares Leihsing’s frustrations with how slowly the investigation has progressed, and what they see as stalling tactics in the civil lawsuit by attorneys representing the university.
“It has been difficult to wait this length of time, and we still haven’t heard the audio tape, we have no report on (his) clothing – nothing beyond the medical exam and the toxicology report,” Hall said.
A UIW police department audio recording of the incident still has not been released to the family or public, although Alamo Heights police and UIW officials asserted at the time of the shooting that it supported Carter’s version of the deadly confrontation. A police vehicle video camera, standard issue for patrol cars, was not functioning during the night of the shooting, although a second video camera in the rear of the vehicle was functioning. That video has not been released, either.
“When we get the police report back and we find out what it going to happen at the grand jury … there is a good chance he will return to work and he would do so in an administrative capacity,” said Douglas B. Endsley, UIW vice president for business and finance during a forum at the university about campus police policies in March.
“Changes should be made on (UIW’s) part,” Leihsing said. “Otherwise how can you guarantee that this won’t repeat itself?”
Leihsing said all parents have a stake in the outcome of the Redus case.
“Kyle could have so easily been there … been in Cam’s shoes – it could have been any of our kids,” she said. “When something is wrong, it’s just wrong.”
*Featured/top image: A photo collage of Cameron Redus’ life courtesy of his family.
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