CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. - Family members who watched a Clayton County man get gunned down said they warned police about the suspect.
“This wouldn't have happened if they would have done their job,” Nancy Valverde told Channel 2’s Tom Jones.
Her brother, 22-year-old Eric Hernandez, was shot Friday night on Brandon Hill Way. He leaves behind a wife and two young children. His wife went from celebrating their wedding anniversary that day to planning his funeral.
The shooting suspect, 40-year-old Eric Smith, lives next door. Valverde said he had been terrorizing her family for months, waving guns and making racist comments. She said he even threatened to call immigration officials.
“We're from Texas,” Valverde said.
She said officers have stopped by their neighborhood but wouldn’t arrest Smith, saying he was allowed to have a gun on his property. Valverde said he was up to his antics again Friday night.
“He started yelling again," she said.
Clayton County police said Smith began taunting Hernandez after a verbal dispute. As his family held him back, officers said Smith opened fire, hitting Hernandez in the chest.
Valverde said her family grabbed Smith to keep him from shooting anyone else. That's when, she said, Smith attacked her dad.
“He hit him in the face with the gun,” Valverde said.
Smith faces murder charges in Hernandez’s death.
“He died in front of his mother, in front of his father, in front of his kids,” Valverde said.
Police said they will have to do some research before they can answer the family’s claims about officers not doing their jobs.
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