A Texas officer who shot into a moving car filled with teenagers was placed on administrative leave after one of the teens succumbed to his injuries.
Dallas News by way of The Dallas Morning News reports the shooting happened in Balch Springs Saturday evening (April 29) when Balch Springs police Chief Jonathan Haber responded to a call about alleged gun shots heard at a house party with underaged attendees. While heading to the location, Haber came into contact with a vehicle that allegedly backed down the road toward officers "in an aggressive manner."
Haber fired a shot into the car, hitting 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in the head. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Lee Merritt, an attorney representing the family says Haber's recollection of the shooting is murky since the teens weren't under the influence like the ones the officer was told in his dispatch.
“They were simply leaving a party where they believed danger was,” Merritt told CBS-DFW. “So I can’t wrap my mind around why an officer decided to shoot into the car.” The 15-year-old attended the party with his older brother and two friends when they and many others heard a noise they believed were gunshots. Investigators haven't revealed if anyone was arrested or in police custody with a weapon.
"All the kids began to disperse and head back to their respective cars,” Merritt told the Huffington Post on Monday (May 1). “As they were walking to their cars, they heard shots. No one knows where the shots came from.” Merritt also questioned the department's statement on the direction of the car.
“As they backed out of a parking space, they heard someone shouting profanities at them,” he said. “Before they had a chance to respond, the person shouting at them shot three shots into the vehicle and one of the three rounds went into Jordan Edwards’ forehead.” The teens were reportedly unaware that the shots came from a police officer. “They got about a block away when they realized Jordan had been hit,” Merritt said. “They stopped the car and tried to flag down police officers that were passing by, but those police officers just kept going. They waited for a little while and another group of officers came by and they were able to flag them down and receive emergency help.”
Balch Springs Police Department sent condolences to the victim and his family. “On behalf of the entire Balch Springs Police Department, and the city of Balch Springs we express our deep, sincere condolences to the family,” Haber said. “We will continue to reach out to the parents and keep them informed as we move forward from this point.”
Edwards was a freshman at Mesquite High School who was also an honor student and well liked by his peers. "[It] shouldn't have happened to him," Chris Cano said to reporters Sunday. The 13-year-old had known Edwards since they were six-years-old. "It could have easily been my son," his father, Chris Cano Sr., said. "[Jordan] was not a thug, and he had great parents," he added.
An autopsy has declared Edwards death a homicide. An investigation into the shooting will be conducted by the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.