It’s been nearly two months since Rueben Galindo, a 29-year-old Hispanic man, was shot and killed by police. On the night of September 6, Galindo called 911. He said he had a gun with no bullets and wanted officers to come to his home.
What happened next depends on who you ask. CMPD says Galindo approached officers with a gun in his hand and they felt a threat. Galindo’s attorneys say he wanted police to come to his home, and it’s not clear that he was holding a gun at the time he was shot.
We’ve heard from Chief Putney and Galindo’s attorneys. Today we hear from his significant other of two-and-a-half years. Azucena Zamorano was not only present during the shooting, but she and her children still live where it happened.
The first thing you notice when you walk into Zamorano’s home is a makeshift altar dedicated to her late partner, Rueben Galindo. A large framed photo of Galindo sits on a table surrounded by candles. Two vases full of white lilies sit on either side of the photo.
There’s a small statue of the Virgin Mary and a cross made of seashells. A hand-written letter from one of his children lays on the table. The letter reads “one day all of us will be altogether again like a family even if it will take 70 years.”
Just a few steps away is a door that leads to a small patio area which leads to another door, this one is metal with white intricate decorative curls. This is the door Galindo walked out of to greet police. This is the door Galindo was killed in front of. This is the door the family still uses to get in and out of their home.
Zamorano and her family were home when Galindo was shot and killed.
"That’s something they lived through. I don’t need to explain because they were present and saw it all happening," she said.
The couple met in elementary school in Mexico where they are both from. Together they had one child, a 4-month-old girl. But Suzie said her children from a previous relationship saw Galindo as a father figure.
"He was very sweet was always making jokes," she said. "My children know he, Rueben, was not their dad. Nonetheless, they loved him more than if he were their biological father."
She has more questions than answers about the night Galindo called 911. She keeps coming back to the word “unfair” when she describes actions of CMPD.
"It was unjust. Their job is not to kill people, it's not to assassinate people. Now, now they say the police that they were at risk and in fear? Why? Because they saw him face to face? That's why they were afraid, that's why?" she said through tears. "Now they are traumatized, are they not trained to control such a situation? They are only trained to kill people that's what they are trained to do. They had no right to react the way they did. In no way did he do anything to get killed and get shot, he did nothing."
Zamorano says the experience has affected the way she views police.
"It's a terrible experience. Now as I walk around outside and I see the police, I am very nervous and at the same time mad, as I remember what happened here at my house."
Now she says, all she can hope for is justice for Galindo.
Lawyers representing the family who were present during this interview say that the first step in healing would be to relocate the family. It’s one thing to live with his memories in the home they shared, it’s another to keep existing in the space where he died.