Jordan Edwards killing: officer who shot teen in moving car charged with murder

The police officer who shot dead a 15-year-old boy in Balch Springs, Texas, last Saturday has turned himself in to face a murder charge, authorities said on Friday.

Jordan Edwards, who was black, and his two brothers and two other teenagers were driving away from an unruly house party in Balch Springs late Saturday night when officer Roy Oliver, in violation of federal guidelines, opened fire on their vehicle with a rifle. The bullets shattered the front passenger-side window. Edwards was hit in the head.

It took a few moments for Edwards’ 16-year-old brother, who was driving, and other passengers to notice that he was slumped over in his seat.

On Tuesday, Oliver, a six-year veteran, was fired for violating department policies, police chief Jonathan Haber said. An arrest warrant was issued on Friday and he turned himself in shortly after.

In a statement announcing the warrant, the Dallas County sheriff’s office cited evidence that suggested Oliver “intended to cause serious bodily injury and commit an act clearly dangerous to human life that caused the death”.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Melinda Urbina said the investigation into the shooting continues.

Oliver’s attorney, Cindy Stormer, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment. The attorney for the teen’s family, Lee Merritt, said he would issue a statement later Friday.

Records obtained by the Associated Press, meanwhile, showed that Oliver was briefly suspended in 2013 following a complaint about his conduct while serving as a witness in a drunk-driving case.

Personnel records from the Balch Springs police department show Oliver was suspended for 16 hours in December 2013 after the Dallas County district attorney’s office filed the complaint. Oliver also was ordered to take training courses in anger management and courtroom demeanor and testimony.

Oliver joined the Balch Springs department in 2011 after being an officer with the Dalworthington Gardens police department for almost a year. A statement from Dalworthington Gardens officials said he received an award for “meritorious conduct” and there were no documented complaints or disciplinary action in either his work as a public safety officer or dispatcher.

Between his employment as a dispatcher and officer in the Dallas suburb, Oliver was in the US army, rising to sergeant through two tours in Iraq and earning various commendations. He served for two years in the Texas national guard reserves.

About 200 people attended a vigil in Balch Springs on Thursday night to honor Edwards’ memory and protest his death.

His funeral is scheduled to take place on Saturday.

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