Rashad Cunningham's loved ones want answers after Gary, Indiana, police shooting originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
Loved ones of a father of five who was shot and killed by a police officer while sitting in a car outside of his Indiana home are demanding answers and any video footage of the deadly encounter.
Rashad Cunningham, 25, was fatally shot by a police officer early Saturday in Gary, Indiana, after returning from a night out with friends and the mother of his 1-year-old son, relatives and police officials said.
"We were out together at the bar and then we went our separate ways. He walked me to the car and told me he loved me. I told him to please just call me when you get home because he was a little tipsy. I never received a call," Heather Fox, Cunningham's girlfriend and mother of his youngest child, told ABC News.
She said that at the time of his death, Cunningham, who she confirmed had a concealed carry permit, was armed with a handgun; it remained unclear Monday if that prompted the shooting.
Fox said she last heard from Cunningham in a text message on Saturday, around the time police officials say he was shot to death following a traffic stop.
"I was texting him, I was calling him while he was getting shot," Fox said. "I was calling his phone and blowing his phone up. My last text from him was like 3:18 in the morning. He said he was going to call me as soon as he walked in the house, that he was sitting in the car, his best friend's car. He didn't get the chance to get into the house."
Gary police officials would only confirm that an officer-involved shooting occurred, saying it happened about 3 a.m. following a traffic stop, according to ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago. No officers were injured in the incident.
The officer who shot Cunningham has not been publicly identified by police. Police did not immediately respond to phone calls and email from ABC News on Monday.
Fox sent a letter to Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson on Sunday asking that she arrange for her and her boyfriend's family to view any police body-camera and dash-camera footage of the shooting.
Andrew Stroth, a Chicago civil rights attorney representing Fox and Cunningham's mother, said he has not gotten a response from the mayor or the police department.
"In these situations, I always want to review the evidence, and right now we don't know if there's bodycam, we don't know if there's dash-cam. All we know is Rashad Cunningham was sitting in a car in front of his house with two of his good friends, cops roll up, ultimately point a flashlight into the car and within moments, seconds, just fire through the driver's side window, killing Rashad in the passenger front seat," Stroth told ABC News on Monday.
David Nusz, who was Cunningham's best friend, told WLS-TV that he gave Cunningham a ride home early Saturday and they were sitting in his truck with another friend when police pulled up and approached them. He said the officer did not conduct a traffic stop.
"Cop drives down the street, shines his light on us," Nusz said. "We ask why he's doing that. This is his house. The cops asked us for IDs. I was getting mine out. As he's walking up, we're getting ours out, he must have seen the gun on his [Cunningham's] lap, which he had a permit for. He wasn't reaching for it or nothing, the cop opened fire. The cop said 'gun' fired five or six times."
Fox told ABC News that Cunningham had a valid permit to carry a firearm.
"That's very true. Every time we got pulled over he never had an issue with the police. He informs the police that he has a gun in the car. He never reaches for it," Fox said. "He knows his rights and that's possibly how he got killed."
She described Cunningham as "family-oriented," and added, "He was loved by everybody."
"Everybody has something good to say about him, not one bad thing have I ever heard anybody say about my boyfriend, my son's father. He would give you the shirt off his back," Fox said.
She said Cunningham recently quit his job and was working to get his commercial driver's license while taking care of their son during the day. She said Cunningham has four other children.
"I just need clarification," Fox said. "I just need some answers to all the questions I have. I just need something so I can sleep at night. I'm not sleeping. I'm not eating, I'm sick. I don't know what's going on. I have no clarification. They're not telling us nothing at all."