EL PASO, Texas -- New details have emerged about the night that police shot and killed a suspected car thief in an east El Paso Walmart parking lot.
It happened about 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at the Walmart located at 12236 Montana Avenue. A police spokesman said two officers approached a parked Ford Expedition, which matched the description of a stolen vehicle.
According to a newly obtained custodial death report filed by the El Paso Police Department to the Texas Attorney General's Office, the man shot and killed was identified as Matthew Wayne Sutton.
The report states Sutton was asleep in the vehicle when officers arrived. When the officers asked Sutton about the vehicle and the license plates he "immediately became irate, started the ignition, and then tried to put it into gear."
The report identifies the two officers as Officers Lopez and Gurrola, but did not include their first names. The officers then reached inside the car and tried to stop Sutton from driving away. They were unsuccessful and Sutton reversed the SUV while dragging the officers.
The report states that Sutton ignored the officers' commands to stop, and Officer Lopez shot Sutton in the "upper torso." Sutton then put the SUV into drive, and crashed into the front wall of the store.
The report states officers then went to try and render aid, and Sutton was unresponsive. An ambulance was requested but did not transport Sutton because it was clear he was "obviously deceased."
"The officers were thrown from the moving vehicle as it continued through the parking lot, ultimately crashing into the exterior wall of the store," said a police statement issued at the time of the incident.
Both officers were taken to the hospital, where authorities said they were treated for non-life threatening injuries and released.
Witnesses reported hearing gunshots around the time of the incident in the parking lot, which police quickly blocked off to keep anyone from leaving the scene.
Shoppers and employees at the Walmart were safe and unharmed. They were kept inside the store as police investigated into the early morning hours. About 1:30 a.m., police began escorting them out of the building and to a nearby Lowe’s parking lot where family or friends could pick them up.
Police said those shoppers and employees would be able to pick up their vehicles in the Walmart parking lot after 5 p.m. Thursday. Crime scene tape was wrapped across a significant portion of the lot for hours after the shooting.
Some off-duty El Paso police officers have worked security at area Walmart stores following the Aug. 3 mass shooting at the Cielo Vista store. But in this case, police said that the two officers involved were on-duty and searching for stolen vehicles using a mobile license plate reader.
Authorities said the two officers are each 25-year veterans with EPPD's Auto Theft Task Force. They have been placed on administrative leave -- which is standard practice in cases of officer-involved shootings.