Family Of UNT Student DJ Tarver Shot, Killed By Denton Police, Calling For Federal Investigation: ‘They Practiced No De-escalation’

DENTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A Denton County Grand Jury returned a no bill in the officer-involved shooting death of Darius Tarver on January 21, 2020.

The Denton Police Department said Thursday, March 18, the internal administrative investigation will conclude in the next 30 days and will determine whether training and department policies were followed.

The involved officer remains on administrative duty pending the outcome of the internal investigation.

“Darius’ death was a profound loss for our community and a tragedy for all involved. We extend our condolences to the Tarver family during this difficult time,” the police department said in a news release.

Darius Tarver (Credit: Family Photo)

Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt is demanding justice for Darius Tarver.

The 23-year-old University of North Texas student tased and fatally shot by a Denton police officer in January.

Civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, said Tarver was experiencing a mental health crisis when he was killed.

Tarver was involved in a near fatal collision shortly before he was killed where he sustained a traumatic brain injury.

He was prematurely released from ICU, according to Merritt, and subsequently began to exhibit signs of significant mental impairment.

On the day he was killed, he barricaded himself in his room while muttering to himself about God and light. Thus, his roommate called the police and asked for help.

Video shot from four police body cameras that night show Tarver holding a large knife and frying pan when police approached him near the outside stairwell of his apartment building, The Forum at Denton Station.

When Tarver did not follow commands to drop the items, an officer shot him with a taser. Tarver stumbled toward officers, and one officer fired a single shot in his direction.

After several seconds on the ground, Tarver got back up, retrieved the pan and advanced toward officers again. That’s when the same officer fired two more times, killing him.

Police Chief Frank Dixon defended his officers, saying they acted professionally. He was critical of those who questioned the officer’s decisions in the shooting.

But Merritt said Tarver’s roommate told police that Darius wasn’t violent or threatening — but his behavior was increasingly bizarre.

When he encountered the police he declared “I am not afraid! There is only One God and he will be my shield!”

Merritt claims responding officers were “poorly trained and ill equipped to respond to the crisis,” which resulted in Tarver’s death.

WATCH: Denton Police Release Video Footage Of UNT Student Darius Tarver’s Fatal Shooting

CBSDFW.com Staff