FBI to assist in probe of Texas college football player's death

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — A Texas police chief promised transparency as the FBI joined the investigation into the death of a Texas college football player who was fatally shot by an officer during a burglary call at a car dealership.

During a news conference Saturday night, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said the FBI's Dallas field office has been asked to help investigate the death early Friday of Christian Taylor, a 19-year-old African-American who was unarmed when shot by a white police officer. Johnson stressed the move "in no way diminishes my confidence" in local officers to conduct the investigation.

Taylor's death came two days before the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown's death galvanized the "Black Lives Matter" movement and sparked protests that at times turned violent.

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FBI to assist in probe of Texas college football player's death
This photo provided by Angelo State University shows Christian Taylor. A police officer in suburban Dallas shot and killed Taylor, a Angelo State University football player during a struggle after the unarmed 19-year-old crashed a car through the front window of a car dealership, authorities said Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Officers were responding to a burglary call in Arlington when they discovered someone had driven a vehicle through a front window of the Classic Buick GMC, according to a statement from the Arlington Police Department. The statement said police approached the suspect and a struggle ensued. At some point during the struggle, an officer shot Taylor. (Angelo State University via AP)
Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson gives more details in the shooting of Christian Taylor at a news conference on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. (Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
This photo provided by the Arlington Police Department shows police officer Brad Miller. Police has identified Taylor as the officer in suburban Dallas, who shot and killed Christian Taylor, a Angelo State University football player during a struggle after the unarmed 19-year-old crashed a car through the front window of a car dealership, authorities said Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (Arlington Police Department via AP)
Christian Taylor's father, Adrian, encourages mourners to remember his son during a vigil at Koinonia Christian Church on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. The FBI has been asked to help investigate the death of Taylor, a 19-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Arlington police officer Brad Miller during a burglary call at a car dealership, the Arlington police chief chief said Saturday. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Demonstrators protest outside the Arlington Police Station over the fatal shooting of burglary suspect Christian Taylor by rookie Arlington police officer Brad Miller on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
John Fullinwider protests outside the Arlington Police Station to end police brutality on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Demonstrators gathered at the police headquarters after the fatal shooting of burglary suspect Christian Taylor early Friday morning by rookie Arlington police officer Brad Miller. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
John Fullinwider leads protesters outside the Arlington Police Station to end police brutality on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. Demonstrators gathered at the police headquarters after the fatal shooting of burglary suspect Christian Taylor early Friday morning by rookie Arlington police officer Brad Miller. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Friends and family gather at a candlelight vigil for Christian Taylor at Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. The FBI has been asked to help investigate the death of Taylor, a 19-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Arlington police officer Brad Miller during a burglary call at a car dealership, the Arlington police chief said Saturday. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Friends and family gather at a candlelight vigil for Christian Taylor at Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. The FBI has been asked to help investigate the death of Taylor, a 19-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Arlington police officer Brad Miller during a burglary call at a car dealership, the Arlington police chief said Saturday. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Friends and family gather at a candlelight vigil for Christian Taylor at Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. The FBI has been asked to help investigate the death of Taylor, a 19-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Arlington police officer Brad Miller during a burglary call at a car dealership, the Arlington police chief said Saturday. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Holding a sign listing the names of those killed by Dallas police, Pastor Kennedy Jones, of Greater Community Missionary Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, demonstrates with 'Mothers Against Police Brutality' outside the Arlington Police Station on Monday, Aug. 10, 2015. The group gathered at Arlington Police Headquarters to protest the fatal shooting of burglary suspect Christian Taylor by rookie Arlington police officer Brad Miller. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Friends and family gather at a candlelight vigil for Christian Taylor at Koinonia Christian Church in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015. The FBI has been asked to help investigate the death of Taylor, a 19-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Arlington police officer Brad Miller during a burglary call at a car dealership, the Arlington police chief said Saturday. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Christian Taylor's brothers Josh, left, and Adrian, right, encourage mourners to remember their brother during a vigil at Koinonia Christian Church on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in Arlington, Texas. The FBI has been asked to help investigate the death of Taylor, a 19-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by Arlington police officer Brad Miller during a burglary call at a car dealership, the Arlington police chief said Saturday. (Brandon Wade/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
these are the old tweets of christian taylor, the nineteen-year-old kid murdered by the police on friday http://t.co/aUiSypIhVW
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Johnson mentioned the current climate during the news conference, noting that "our nation has been wrestling with the topics of social injustice, inequities, racism and police misconduct" and that his department would "pledge to act in a transparent manner."

Arlington officer Brad Miller has been placed on administrative leave. Police say the officer, who joined Arlington police last year and was still completing his department field training, had never before fired his weapon in the line of duty.

Johnson said Miller and another officer found Taylor "freely roaming" inside the dealership's showroom when they arrived, sometime after 1 a.m. Friday.

The officers told Taylor to surrender and lie down on the ground, but he refused, the chief said. They saw him trying to escape the showroom and pursued him.

The incident ended with Miller shooting his service weapon four times at Taylor, hitting him at least twice, according to Johnson. The officer with Miller — his field training officer, a nearly two-decade veteran — used his Taser, but not a gun.

Johnson repeatedly refused to describe the confrontation or say how close Taylor got to either officer before Miller opened fire.

Police had gone to the Classic Buick GMC in Arlington, about 10 miles west of Dallas, after being contacted by a company that manages security cameras at for the car dealership. Police were advised that someone had driven a car onto the lot, started to damage another car, then drove his own vehicle into the glass front of the showroom. Johnson said Taylor appeared to have kicked out the windshield of a car.

Some of the nationwide criticism of police use of force in the last year has happened online, and Taylor's death resonated on social media, with some posts questioning the official account and calling for video to be released.

Police say they are investigating Taylor's death both as a possible criminal case and to determine whether department rules were broken.

Taylor graduated last year from Mansfield Summit High School in Arlington and was listed on Angelo State's roster as a 5-foot-9, 180-pound defensive back.

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