Video Gives Insight Into Shooting Of Bellaire Resident
The jury for the Bellaire Police Sgt. Jeffrey Cotton trial viewed a video of Cotton’s walk through of what he says happened the night of the shooting of Robbie Tolan on Dec. 31, 2008.
Cotton is charged with shooting Tolan on the front lawn of his Bellaire home on New Year’s Eve 2008 after an officer mistakenly thought he was driving a stolen vehicle.
Cotton says in the video that he heard Officer John Edwards’ call over the police radio calling for backup at 804 Woodstock. When he arrived at the scene he could see one person on the ground at gun point. Cotton ran forward with his gun drawn, he said.
Tolan and his cousin Anthony Cooper were coming home with food from Jack-In-The-Box on New Year’s Eve when Edwards mistakenly ran the wrong license plate number on their vehicle, thinking they were auto theft suspects. When Tolan’s parents, Robert and Marian Tolan heard a commotion outside, they came out of their home to see what was going on.
Cotton said in the video that he needed to get Marian Tolan out of the way so he could see both suspects. He “used both hands to move her” towards the garage. He remembers hearing her say “get your hands off me.”
Cotton said he heard Tolan yell something to the effect of, “get your hands of my mother” and then he saw him get up in “an aggressive, angry manner.” He put his hand in his waistband, which made Cotton think he had a weapon, he said.
Cotton said he saw Tolan’s hands come up and that’s when he fired two rounds. He said he was thinking, “I can’t believe this guy is pulling a weapon.”
Three rounds were said to be fired at the scene; two bullets were found in the fascia of the Tolan’s home.
“I fired twice,” he said during the walk through video. Cotton said he could have fired three times, but he only remembers shooting twice.
Once Cotton didn’t find Tolan a threat, he went to him and checked his wounds. He rolled him over and checked for weapons, but didn’t find a weapon on him.
“I stayed with the suspect until the medics took over,” he said.
“Cotton’s bullet entered Robbie’s body just under his right nipple. From there, it traveled downward, piercing and collapsing his right lung and finally boring into (and nearly liquefying) his liver,” the lawsuit said. Tolan survived but doctors were unable to remove the bullet from his body, the lawsuit said.
The jury heard from several witnesses today regarding what happened the night of the shooting. Cotton is expected to testify at some point during the trial.
The trial is expected to end sometime next week, said David Donahue, legal administrator for Cotton’s attorney, Paul Aman.