TRAGEDY ON POWERS: Man shot by police following disturbance


Pictured is the residence of the incident, where the front window appeared shattered. Below the driveway is a patch of blood from the shooting.
(Photo by David Lopez)

A San Benito neighborhood was shaken by a police-involved shooting late Wednesday night.

At 11 p.m. on August 19, San Benito Police officers responded to an alleged domestic disturbance on East Powers Street near its intersection with South Bonham.

According to an updated SBPD press release,  Officer Oscar Lara arrived to find Samuel Mata, 21, and his mother arguing about the use of a vehicle. The mother was attempting to prevent Mr. Mata from driving off in her car when a physical altercation ensued. Officer Lara attempted to de-escalate the situation when Mr. Mata brandished a revolver and pointed it at his mother and subsequently at Officer Lara.

Lara then discharged his weapon, striking Mata.

Officers then administered CPR to the male but he later succumbed to his injuries.

Officers at the scene recovered a loaded revolver in the subject’s possession.

In an interview with reporters the day after the incident, Samuel’s sister, April, assured that her brother was unarmed.

“He was not armed,” she said. “I think they need to be held responsible for what they do. I think they’re policemen and they think they can get away with [expletive]. It might have flown last time but it’s not gonna fly this time. I’m gonna make sure I get justice for my brother.”

Furthermore, April said Samuel was shot four times in front of their mother.

“I’m hurt by the fact that my brother was killed in front of my mom by a police officer. He didn’t say ‘Get on the ground,’ he didn’t tase him, he shot him four times in front of his mother,” April said.

The Texas Rangers have initiated an investigation into the incident. SBPD Detectives and administration are assisting the Rangers in the investigation, read the SBPD’s press release.

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  1. The San Benito Police Chief needs to release Officer’s Lara’s Body Camera Video. It will show if Mr. Mata had a gun in hand and pointed it at the Officer. It will also show if proper procedures was followed and it will put to rest all the rumors going around the city. Transparency is one key element to a smooth operating Police Department and City Government.

    • Priscilla on August 21, 2020 at 10:22 pm
    • Reply

    This is such a disgrace! What has become of San Benito! How on God’s earth do you have the nerves to post a picture of a deceased person. This is disgusting and shameful. My heart goes out to their family for having to see him dead on the ground and even more so for his mother who will now have a picture of what I’m certain traumatized her. She was there the night it happened and it was right in front of her. Now you have the nerve to put the in the newspaper for all to see. What a shame!!!

    • Lori M. Hernandez on August 21, 2020 at 10:18 pm
    • Reply

    What in the world? Shame on you San Benito News!

    I’m completely disgusted with the amount of disrespect in this article. There is no reason for those explicit photos posted. This is extremely disrespectful and inappropriate for the grieving family and his loved ones. No individual wants to go online and see their loved one deceased on social media, or anybody at that.

    My heart is torn and shattered just by viewing this.

    I am in disbelief, the young man is deceased. How could you post this photo of him deceased, along with the home and his blood as well?

    GOD be with you.

    • Kaitlyn on August 21, 2020 at 10:09 pm
    • Reply

    I am completely disgusted at the amount of disrespect in this article. First of all, there is no reason for those explicit pictures to be posted. Do you not have respect for his family and loved ones? No individual wants to go online and see their loved one bashfully exposed to social media. The fact that you can sleep with yourself at night knowing you wrongfully posted these pictures is repulsive. You should be disgusted and ashamed of yourself. How sad. Second of all, these horrific lies about Samuel are being spread across social media, and for what? Just because that’s what sells? San Benito police are trying to cover this up and in doing so ruining his image. He was a kind, respectful soul and does not deserve these false, negative accusations bringing down his character and image. This is not how he should be remembered and it is so sad to what the world has come to? What has San Benito become?

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