The Dallas Police Department apologized to the mother of a teen fatally shot by an officer playing Russian roulette nearly 50 years after the incident, The Washington Post reported Monday.
Santos, 12, and David Rodriguez, 13, were interrogated by a Dallas Police officer playing Russian roulette in the back of a cop car on July 24, 1973, according to the Post. Former Dallas Police Officer Darrell Cain was reportedly trying to get the boys to confess to taking $8 from a vending machine despite the teens saying they had nothing to do with the theft.
Cain and officer Roy Arnold were responding to a reported burglary at a gas station where Arnold suspected the Rodriguez boys had stolen money from a vending machine, according to the Post. Cain reportedly pulled the boys out of their home without a warrant and began interrogating the boys in an empty lot behind the gas station.
“In order to heal, those who committed the wrong must be contrite,” Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia told the boy’s mother, Bessie Rodriguez, the Post reported. “On behalf of the Dallas Police Department, as a father, I am sorry. We are sorry that someone trusted to protect you, someone who wore the same uniform I proudly wear today took your son and took David’s brother away by way of murder.”
#Breaking @DallasPD Eddie García apologies to Bessie Rodriguez for the murder of her 12-year-old son Santos Rodriguez by a Dallas police office in July 24, 1973. Apology is clear and firm in Spanish and English. A first. pic.twitter.com/jBfdXVfvQK
— Dianne Solis ✍🏽 (@disolis) July 24, 2021
“When he wasn’t getting the answers he wanted, that is when he pulled out his gun,” David told the Dallas Morning News in 2019. “He put the gun up to [Santos’s] head. He said, ‘Now you are going to tell him the truth.’”
Cain aimed his .357 Magnum revolver at Santos and the second time he pulled the trigger shot the boy in the head, the Post reported. Cain was convicted of murder following the incident and he testified that Santos told him he was telling the officer the truth, that the pair hadn’t stolen the $8. (RELATED: Dallas Cop Who Shot Neighbor In His Own Apartment Tells Authorities What She Was Thinking)
Garcia addressed Bessie Saturday on the 48th anniversary of her son’s death during a memorial at the cemetery where Santos is buried, according to the Post. The city hasn’t healed “from the loss of Santos and the manner in which we lost Santos” and an apology to his mother was long overdue, Garcia added.
Bessie thanked Garcia for his “very respectful” remarks at the memorial, the Post reported. Bessie waited years for law enforcement officials to acknowledge the incident that furthered division between the department and minority communities around Dallas.
Cain was sentenced to five years in prison but only served half his sentence and died at 75-years-old in 2019. , according to the Post. Arnold never faced any charges and was fired from the department.
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