A custodial death report submitted by the Brownsville Police Department to the Texas Attorney General’s Office says a red Mustang driven by a 20-year-old man came within inches of an officer as police opened fire and killed the man last month.
On June 17, at around 1:37 a.m., BPD Sgt. John M. Jones and Officers Celeste Rivera and Mario A. Alvarado shot at Mark Anthony Galvan after the man fled during a traffic stop, coming within inches of Alvarado while driving toward Jones, according to the report.
Galvan, who would have been charged with aggravated assault on a public servant, evading arrest and assault (strangulation) family violence, died at 3:32 a.m. at Valley Baptist Medical Center from gunshot wounds to the chest.
All three officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation by the Texas Rangers.
The fatal exchange began at around 1:30 a.m. when the Brownsville Police Department responded to 470 Gilson Road after someone complained that Galvan had just assaulted a woman.
Alvarado ran Galvan’s name in a police database to find his address and remained near the intersection of Boca Chica Boulevard when at around 1:34 a.m. he saw the red Mustang traveling southbound on Central Boulevard approaching Boca Chica Boulevard. The officer conducted a traffic stop on Medical Street.
Alvarado approached Galvan and told him police had been called on him and asked him to turn off his vehicle, as well as asking what happened during the assault, to which Galvan said “I mean she was arguing with me so I just left.”
That conversation continued with Alvarado asking Galvan to step out of the vehicle.
“Instead of stepping out of his vehicle, Mark Anthony inserted his vehicle’s key in the ignition and turned the vehicle back on,” the report stated. “Officer Alvarado then ordered Mark Anthony to turn the vehicle back off and step out, which he refused.”
Galvan questioned Alvarado about why he needed to step out with the officer telling him things needed to be sorted out.
This is when Sgt. Jones arrived at the traffic stop and stood near the front passenger side of the red Mustang.
“Officer Alvarado then advised Mark Anthony that he was asking him to step out of the vehicle and asked Mark Anthony if he was going to comply or not. Mark Anthony then claimed that he was complying,” the report stated. “Officer Alvarado further stated that he was going to explain to Mark Anthony what was going on once he was outside of his vehicle and ordered Mark Anthony to turn off the vehicle.”
According to the report, Galvan continued questioning Alvarado’s orders.
“Officer Alvarado tells Mark Anthony that he had been asking for his compliance nicely, and advised him that he could comply or things could go a different way,” the report stated. “Officer Alvarado once again ordered Mark Anthony to turn off the vehicle and exit. Mark Anthony once again claimed he was complying and moved the vehicle’s gear selector back.”
That’s when Alvarado ordered him to put the vehicle in park, pulled out his taser and aimed it at Galvan.
“Mark Anthony then accelerated at a high rate (of) speed and began to evade the officers in his motor vehicle at around 1:37 a.m.,” the report stated.
This is when Officer Rivera arrived at the scene and joined Jones and Alvarado in pursuing Galvan, who then reached the end of Medical Street, a dead end street, and drove back toward the officers, who were parked in the oncoming lane after arriving within split seconds of each other, blocking the roadway.
“The officers had their assigned duty pistols drawn and began to actively target Mark Anthony as they gave him verbal commands to stop the vehicle multiple times,” the report stated.
Instead of stopping, Galvan drove into someone’s front yard while continuing to drive near and in the direction of Alvarado and Jones, according to the report.
“Having no means of escape, and while driving on top of the front yard area at 47 Medical St., Mark Anthony then suddenly accelerated quickly causing his vehicle’s tires to squeal. Officer Alvarado and Sgt. Jones then subsequently shot at the direction of Mark Anthony as he felonious (sic) crashed into a police unit at around 1:37 a.m. (approximately 42 seconds after evading from the traffic stop,” the report stated.
Jones said he saw the vehicle come within inches of Alvarado and said Galvan was coming directly toward him, according to the report.
“Sgt. Jones heard the vehicle accelerate quickly causing the tires to squeal, Sgt. Jones felt his life was now in jeopardy along with the other officers on scene and the citizens in the area,” the report stated.
After being shot by Jones and Alvarado and crashing into a police unit “with great force” Galvan placed the Mustang in reverse and backed up toward the officers while ignoring multiple verbal commands to stop, according to the report.
“Mark Anthony then quickly accelerated forward as all three officers … subsequently shot at the direction of Mark Anthony as he crashed into two police units in order to escape and evade from the area, which he accomplished,” the report stated.
Jones, Alvarado and Rivera also believed that an officer was inside the police unit Galvan struck “with great force,” according to the report.
“Officer Alvarado was able to continue to pursue Mark Anthony in his police unit (approximately 27 seconds later) while Sgt. Jones & Officer Rivera stayed at the scene of the shooting on Medical St.,” the report stated. “A few moments later, Mark Anthony crashed his vehicle into a palm tree near the 1300 block of Boca Chica Blvd.”
Approximately two hours later, Galvan died.