In-custody death: 'the people who were supposed to help him were the ones killing him'

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) David Silva's brother, Christopher Silva, is in mourning. But, that has not stopped him from speaking out.

He said his brother was murdered at the hands of those who should have been fighting to save him.

David Silva died in a struggle with Kern County deputies and California Highway Patrol officers Tuesday night near Kern Medical Center. Law enforcement officers initially responded to reports that David Silva was intoxicated in public. Christopher Silva said Thursday that his brother did struggle with substance abuse, but he was not a dangerous person.

"He was my hero in a sense, growing up," said Christopher Silva of his brother. "He was bigger than me, better than me at sports. He was someone I just admired."

David Silva's death has generated a great deal of buzz, both outrage against the deputies and criticism of the suspect's intoxication. Some say Silva deserved to die.

Christopher Silva said his brother is nothing like the person people believe him to be.

"My brother wasn't a person that was violent, he wasn't anyone that would hurt anyone, he didn't deserve to have his life threatened," he said.

David Silva is survived by four children, ranging from ages 2 to 10. They haven't yet learned of their father's death, but when they do, Christopher Silva wants them to hear what he said is the right story.

"I feel so sorry for them," said Christopher Silva, "because they won't get to know who he is or who he was. I don't want them thinking my brother was just a bum on a street lying face down in a pool of his own blood. He was much more than that. If anything, I want them to know their father meant a lot more to a lot of people."

Christopher Silva said the memory of his brother will encourage him and his family to fight for justice.

They've hired an attorney.

"He asked for help, he was yelling for help," said Christopher Silva. "He was begging for help, and no one came, because the people who were supposed to help him were the ones killing him."

The coroner's office completed an autopsy on Thursday. In the meantime, the family has not yet been allowed to view the body.

Christopher Silva said all he wants is to say good-bye, one last time.

"All I ask is to see my brother's body," said Christopher Silva. "I want to see what they did to my brother before anything is hidden or made up, just let me in there to see my brother's body."