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Car was driving away from officer when he shot boy with rifle, Balch Springs chief says

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  • Car was driving away from officer when he shot boy with rifle, Balch Springs chief says

    The police chief in Balch Springs admitted Monday that a car full of teens was driving away from police when an officer armed with a rifle fatally shot a 15-year-old boy in the head.

    After reviewing body-cam footage, Police Chief Jonathan Haber reversed his initial account about Saturday's deadly confrontation, saying the teen behind the wheel Saturday night at first backed down the street but was fleeing the scene when the officer opened fire.
    "It did not meet our core values," Haber said of his officer's actions.

    Haber had initially said the car was driving backward when Jordan Edwards was shot. The officers had been inside a house where they found a large party. The ran outside after hearing gunshots around 11 p.m. Saturday in the 12300 block of Baron Drive.

    Jordan, a freshman at Mesquite High School, was leaving the party over the weekend when the officer shot him through the passenger's side window.

    The medical examiner's office said Jordan was killed with a rifle and also ruled his death a homicide, though that doesn't necessarily mean charges will be filed.

    The Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the district attorney's public-integrity unit are investigating the shooting.

    Attorney Lee Merritt, who represents Jordan's family, said Jordan and four other teens heard gunshots and decided to get in a car and leave the party. He said the teens heard someone cursing and then three shots were fired into the car.

    The officer, who has not been named, has been placed on administrative leave. No officers were injured.

    The teen's parents are asking for the officer to be arrested and charged, Merritt said. He said Jordan and the others in the vehicle were not the teens whom police had initially been called about and had not been drinking. He said they did not face charges.

    Jordan was a straight-A student and a standout athlete, who was bed by his schoolmates, Merritt said at a news conference Monday afternoon. The boy's parents, Charmaine and Odell Edwards, sat silently next to the attorney, occasionally wiping their eyes with tissues. They declined to talk about their son or the shooting.

    "We've heard excuses before in the past: You know why it happens, because the dads aren't present. That excuse isn't here," Merritt said. "Or the kid was violent. That excuse isn't present here."

    Charmaine Edwards looked down during most of the 30-minute news conference at a Dallas office tower. In an elevator, away from the cameras, she broke down in sobs.
    At the school

    At Mesquite High School, head football coach Jeff Fleener said he was "crushed and heartbroken" when he found out Jordan had been killed. He said Jordan was a good kid who never got into trouble and had a GPA over 3.5.

    Fleener has been at the school only two months, but he said Jordan introduced himself on his first day and that the two became "quick friends." Jordan played on the freshman team and was supposed to begin playing defensive back this spring. Practices with football pads were scheduled to start Monday but were postponed a day.

    Jordan had a "smile that could light up a room," Fleener said, and many friends.

    "The best thing in the world or the worst thing in the world would happen, and he'd smile, and everything would be OK," the coach said. "You create a checklist of everything you would want in a player, a son, a teammate, a friend, and Jordan had all that. He was that kid."

    Extra counselors were at Mesquite High on Monday, and an end-of-year ninth-grade biology exam was postponed until Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

    "Mesquite ISD's deepest sympathies and prayers are with the family and friends of this young man who tragically lost his life late Saturday evening," the school district said in a written statement. "He was a good student who was very well liked by his teachers, coaches and his fellow students. The entire district — especially the staff and students of Mesquite High School — are mourning this terrible loss."

    Fleener said he spent Sunday talking to adults about Jordan's death and that it was hard. But it was even harder to talk about what happened with students. He said he told the kids that he was experiencing a whirlwind of emotions and that it was OK if they did, too.

    "I went from sad to sick to my stomach to angry to praying to asking why," Fleener said. "They needed to understand it was OK to have those feelings and that we were going to get through this together."

    Friend and teammate Thomas "Dewey" Colombrito, 15, said he Jordan had a promising athletic career ahead of him. The two were on the Mesquite Texans Pee Wee football team. Dewey was a nose guard, Jordan a running back.

    "He was a good athlete. He would have made it to the NFL," said Dewey, a student at John Horn High School. "He d his family even more than he d football though."

    He said teammates relied on Jordan and was the one they went to for help or to get hyped up for a game. "You could trust him with the world," he said.
    In the neighborhood

    Neighbors said there were about 100 teens at the party Saturday night. Dora Daniels, who lives on Baron Drive, said the partygoers were blocking people's driveways and that her son called police to ask them to check out the party because of possible underage drinking.

    Daniels said she wasn't sure whether there was alcohol at the party.

    When the first officer arrived, kids began to scatter "like ants," Daniels said. A second officer arrived soon after.

    Lisa Roberson, who was out of town when her son threw the party without her approval, said a male officer came into the house to talk to her son and to tell partygoers to leave. Roberson said her son told her there was no drinking in the house.

    Neighbors said they heard three or four shots from what sounded like a pistol or small gun. There was a pause before another two or three shots, they said, and then a "bam bam bam" that sounded like it was coming from a large gun, possibly a rifle.

    The neighbors said they didn't see who fired the shots. Daniels said she saw an officer run toward the gunfire after the first round.

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    The investigation

    Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson offered her condolences to Jordan's family and said her office will independently investigate the shooting. The DA's office has a "commitment to justice and transparency," she said.

    The sheriff's office said in a written statement that it was in the preliminary stages of its investigation.

    "The investigation will take time and we ask for patience as our investigators diligently work to complete this task," the statement said.

    Haber, the police chief, said the department would not release the video footage while the investigation is ongoing.

    The police chief, who also offered his condolences, had to stop multiple times to collect himself at a news conference when talking about the conversations he's had with the Edwards family.

    "My heart just gets beat," Haber said of Jordan's death. "If there's something to be learned here, we can all learn it together and move forward together and find solutions how to fix what the problem is.

    By. Dallas Morning News
    Jordan Edwards

  • #2
    I am so tired of the police killing our innocent babies we must mobilize socially economically against the police brutality let us begin to show Unity Black /African family