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Bryan PD asked to take the lead in officer-involved shooting case in College Station

Investigators say a man who was threatening people and firing a rifle in the parking lot of an apartment complex Sunday afternoon has died after being shot by police.
Published: May. 23, 2021 at 1:10 PM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2021 at 1:11 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Investigators say a man who was threatening people and firing a rifle in the parking lot of an apartment complex Sunday afternoon has died after being shot by police.

Preliminary information from police says officers responded just after 12 p.m. to reports of a man pointing a rifle at people while trying to force his way into apartments in the 2400 block of Central Park Lane near Southwest Parkway. Police do not know at this time if he was targeting anyone in particular.

Police say the man then began shooting a rifle in the parking lot of the complex and that’s when he was shot by police. He was rushed to a hospital where he later passed away. Police have identified the man as Roderick Devonne Merchant, Jr., 21, of College Station.

After making contact with Merchant, police say they tried to convince him to come down the stairs from the apartment where he was standing in the doorway. That’s when Merchant stepped out onto the landing and fired a round into the ceiling.

After taking cover, the officers began talking to Merchant again, asking him to drop his weapon and exit down the stairs. After a few minutes, police say Merchant came out of the open breezeway and began shooting again, advancing on one of the officers. That officer, along with a second officer on the scene, returned fire and struck Merchant, although it’s unclear how many times he was hit.

“Despite emergency life-saving efforts of officers, paramedics, and hospital personnel, Roderick has unfortunately passed away,” said police in a statement released Sunday night.

Police say no officers were struck by gunfire. College Station Police Chief Billy Couch says it is still unclear how many shots were fired by Merchant and the officers at this time.

Couch says this is still an active investigation, and he’s asked for help from outside agencies.

”For professionalism and transparency, I have asked the Bryan Police Department to take lead on this investigation, and they have sent their major crimes unit over to support us,” Couch said during a Sunday night press conference. “In addition, we’ve consulted with the district attorney’s office, and they’ve also assigned an investigator onto the case.”

In accordance with CSPD’s policy for all officer-involved shootings, any officer involved will be placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.

This is the fourth shooting in Brazos County in the past three days. On Friday morning, someone was shot on Autumn Circle.

Friday night two people were shot in the parking lot of a grocery store on Texas Avenue. One of the victims was Cameron Gray, 23, of Navasota.

On Saturday morning a 14-year-old was shot in the leg on Bittle Lane.

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