DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The former police chief of Cockrell Hill is weighing in on the deadly shooting of a pickup theft suspect by a Farmers Branch police officer on Wednesday, June 12.
“That’s the first mistake he made, pulling right up on them, that close,” Catherine Smit-Torrez says as she points to a frame of video she’s examined for CBS 11 News.
The video is one of three angles that recorded the moment a Farmers Branch police officer jumped out of his patrol SUV and started shooting at a moving white pickup truck.
The driver of the truck, Juan Moreno Jr., 35, was killed.
The yet unnamed officer was part of a car theft investigation on June 12. In a strip mall parking lot near I-35 and Royal Lane in Dallas, Farmers Branch p officers were attempting to apprehend pickup theft suspects.
The unnamed officer is now facing a possible criminal indictment for murder, after DPD investigators referred the case to the Dallas County Grand Jury.
Smit-Torrez, a 25-year law enforcement official, said based on policy and protocol, the actions taken by the officer do not appear to warrant use of deadly force.
“He continues to fire while the truck is moving away from him, and it’s clear his life is not in danger. And this is what’s more important, a human life over a stolen truck”, she said.
Initially, the Farmers Branch Police Department said the driver, Moreno. Jr, drove toward the officer. Smit-Torrez said based on the video, the truck is trying to drive around the officer.
“There’s no room for him to turn into (police officer). And that’s where DPD comes in and says this should be a murder charge,” she said.
Farmers Branch Police placed the officer on administrative leave, but declined to identify him, claiming death threats were made toward the officer.