ELIZABETH, N.J. (PIX11) — Juan Carlos Salcedo says his brother didn’t have much time to react during his encounter with the Elizabeth police officers that responded to a call of a domestic dispute at their home the morning of July 29.
“If you can see the light, the candle, that’s where my brother dropped,” Salcedo said.
Estiben Alegria-Hurtado died during the encounter.
The 42-year-old father of two arrived from Colombia just over a year ago and was working to support his son and daughter back home. His family says someone called the police after hearing an argument.
According to the state attorney general’s preliminary investigation, someone called to report that an unwanted person was at the Amity Street address, and about one minute after they arrived Officer Steve Lazo fired his gun.
Authorities recovered a knife near Alegria-Hurtado, but the family maintains he did not have any weapon in his hand and had already been subdued by relatives by the time the cops arrived.
“You could’ve used a taser. You want to shoot, shoot his leg. You want to shoot him over here, you want to kill him,” said Alegria-Hurtado.
The family has now hired an attorney and is demanding that the Elizabeth Police Department release the body camera and dash cam video. Community leaders say the department has struggled for years with relating to communities of color. Its director resigned in 2019 after a racial scandal.
“The attorney general and Governor have said over and over again from the time in office we are going to be transparent. We are going to be very tough on the police that does bad to the community. Well, let’s see a little bit of that. Let’s see their talk turn into real action,” said community advocate Salaam Ismial.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family cover funeral expenses.
DJ Flash, a local DJ, will be hosting a fundraising event at the nearby Dolce Lounge on Aug.16th, and The community is rallying behind the family as they mourn.
“My brother was calling me every day. Every day, like my brother I love you. Every day. Every night. I love you so much.” I wake up every morning. I see my phone and I don’t see my brother’s phone call anymore,” said Hurtado’s other brother, Deiby Salcedo.
The Elizabeth Police Department denied PIX11 News’ request for comment.