Former Garland officer stands trial for fatally shooting chase suspect

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Trial began Tuesday for a former Garland police officer who is accused of fatally shooting an unarmed man 41 times during a chase.

Prosecutors said Patrick Tuter fired a total of 41 shots at fleeing suspect Michael Allen in August of 2012.

Officers had attempted to stop Allen because he was in a truck that had been involved in an earlier chase with Sachse police. Tuter tried to pull him over, but he fled. The high-speed chase ended in Mesquite when Tutor opened fire.

Authorities initially said Tuter opened fire after Allen’s truck rammed into his squad car. But dash cam video later showed it was Tuter’s car that crashed into the truck.

Tuter's attorneys say the officer feared for his life, but another officer who was there had a different point of view.

Several of Allen’s relatives sat in on the trial. His mother took the stand briefly to identify him in an autopsy photo and burst into tears.

Defense attorneys say Allen was on meth after a meth pipe was found in his car and that Tuter feared for his life.Tuter feared for his life.

Jurors also saw police and helicopter dash cam video showing the chase and shooting.

Some of the most compelling testimony came from Garland Officer William Norris, who was the second car in the chase.  He testified Tuter acted recklessly in opening fire in a neighborhood with other officers surrounding the vehicle. He testified Allen had his hands on the steering wheel when the chase ended.

Norris said he then heard gunfire, thinking the tires had blown but took cover when he realized bullets were flying.

A defense attorney pointed out that Norris used deadly force by ramming Tuter’s car and therefore he must think it was necessary.

Norris also admitted he couldn't be sure where exactly Tuter was firing or what he was aiming at.

Tuter is charged with manslaughter.

Allen’s family members are declining to talk to media until after the trial. It starts back up at 9 a.m. The state could rest as early as Wednesday.

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