Officer-involved shooting victim's brother: 'He was trying to turn his life around'

Officer-involved shooting victim's brother: 'He was trying to turn his life around'
Jeff Bushey talks about his brother, Jim. (Source: KLTV staff)
Jeff Bushey talks about his brother, Jim. (Source: KLTV staff)
Chief Mike Alexander, Palestine Police Department. (Source: KLTV staff)
Chief Mike Alexander, Palestine Police Department. (Source: KLTV staff)

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV) - The brother of an East Texas man, fatally shot during an overnight officer-involved dispute, said the reports about his brother sound nothing like the man he knew.

In Palestine, police officers shot 47-year old James Bushey after he reportedly pointed a BB gun at them outside of an Applebee's.

Palestine police chief, Mike Alexander, said officers were responding to a reported theft at the Walmart located at 2223 S. Loop 256.

"[James Bushey] walked out of the Walmart with some items and was confronted," said Alexander. "He didn't respond to Walmart security's commands."

Witnesses informed police that Bushey left the Walmart and was hiding in the restroom of the nearby Applebee's.  Officers came into contact with Bushey in the restaurant's restroom and walked him outside without handcuffs, said Alexander.

"While [the officers] were trying to identify him, he brandished a weapon," said Alexander. "One of the officers yelled 'gun gun!' He was able to break away from the officer, spin, turn on the officers, point the weapon at officers, and they fired."

Police later discovered that the weapon was a BB gun that Alexander said looked like a black 9mm pistol that many officers carry.

"He is a victim, but he's also a suspect. The unfortunate part of this situation is nobody wins when there is an officer-involved shooting," said Alexander.

Bushey's brother, Jeff Bushey, said there were few warning signs that his brother would be involved in this type of altercation. James moved in with Jeff about six months ago from New Hampshire. Jeff Bushey said James had gone through a divorce and was struggling to get back on his feet.

"He's just a great brother, he'd do anything for anybody," said Jeff Bushey. "[He's] just a good 'ole guy who was going through a lot of stuff trying to get his life turned around. I can't imagine him wanting to hurt somebody."

Jeff Bushey said his grief over his brother's death won't make him jump to conclusions about police.

"From everything that I've heard and seen, they acted on someone waving a firearm. I wasn't there and I'm not here to judge," said Jeff Bushey. "I figure that the investigation will reveal it and justice will be served in the end."

The Texas Rangers are investigating the incident.

Alexander said that the two officers who fired their weapons are on paid administrative leave and will remain out until the grand jury makes a decision on the results of the investigation.

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