LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- “My father lost his life over something like this, that could have definitely been stopped or prevented,” says Antoinette Harrington, Antonio Garcia’s daughter.
The decision to shoot has cost a Leavenworth man his life, and now an officer his job.
The Leavenworth Police Department fired officer Matthew Harrington after an investigation revealed he violated the department`s policy when he shot and killed a man in July.
Officer Harrington was responding to an argument when he encountered 47-year-old Antonio Garcia in an SUV in the driveway of a Leavenworth home.
Police would only refer to what happened next as an "encounter" with Garcia.
Then they said Officer Harrington shot and killed Garcia.
“I was distraught, I was upset, I was hurt, I didn`t know what happened or what to think. I had just talked to him earlier that day, and everything was fine,” Garcia’s daughter said.
She said she was very close with her dad, and said she still doesn't understand what happened.
“I just don`t know why it would have been taken to such extreme measures,” she added.
Leavenworth police also took a long look at Officer Harrington’s actions before, during, and after the deadly encounter he had with Garcia.
“The officer responded to what was originally he thought to be a stolen automobile report. It turned out to be a domestic incident and there was an encounter in the driveway, and the officer discharged his weapon, shooting and killing the person,” said Patrick Kitchens, the Police Chief of the Leavenworth Police Department.
The investigation wrapped up earlier this month and found the shooting was not justified. Friday, the department fired officer Matthew Harrington.
“I do feel like if he`s terminated, then obviously he did something wrong,” Atoinette said.
Officer Harrington had been with the department for approximately two years. He graduated from the Kansas Law Enforcement Academy in 2016.
“We`re trusting these officers to help us, to protect and to serve. I shouldn`t be scared of an officer,” Atoinette said.
Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said the County Attorney`s investigation is separate from the police department`s investigation, and it is unclear at this time whether the officer will face any charges.
“The standard for employment and their termination by the standard policy of the Leavenworth Police Department is a much lower standard than prosecuting a case,” said Thompson.
Either way, Antoinette said her father didn't deserve to die.
“My dad was a very loving person. He was a great person. Everyone is not perfect in life, but no one deserves to get their life stolen away from them in that way. No one deserves that."
Matthew Harrington’s attorney issued a statement saying, in part, that officer Harrington’s actions were consistent with his department`s use of force policies and procedures.
Officer Harrington disagrees with the decision to discharge his employment, but is confident his name will be eventually cleared.