15yo fatally shot by Texas police, attorney says cops’ story ‘will not hold water’
Jordan Edwards, 15, was in the passenger seat of a car when an officer with the Balch Springs Police Department fired a rifle at the vehicle, hitting Edwards in the head. The teenager later died at a local hospital, according to reports.
Police were sent to a Balch Springs neighborhood at about 11:00pm on April 29 after a 911 call reported "several underage kids drunk walking around,"according to police.
Officers claim that they heard gunfire upon arrival and then "there was an unknown altercation with a vehicle backing down the street towards the officers in an aggressive manner." In response, "an officer shot at the vehicle striking the front seat passenger," Balch Springs police said.
Balch Springs police Chief Jonathan Haber said he did not have information about whether a weapon was found in the vehicle, nor has he said why the officer felt threatened.
However, Lee Merritt, the Edwards family’s attorney, said the vehicle wasn’t being driven aggressively and that none of its occupants had a weapon, adding that the teens in the car were not the individuals the police had been seeking nor had any of them been drinking alcohol at the party.
"They were simply leaving a party where they believed danger was, so I can't wrap my mind around why an officer decided to shoot into the car," Merritt said, according to WFAA.
The police account of Edwards' death "will not hold water when the facts come out," Merritt said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
As the family prepares to bury their child they must combat false claims of under-aged drinking & fabrications about “aggressive” behavior— S. Lee Merritt (@MeritLaw) May 1, 2017
Edwards' death has been ruled a homicide by the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office.
The officer responsible has not been identified but has been placed on administrative leave, according to WFAA.
The shooting investigation has been turned over to the Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.
Because anyone leaving the scene of a shooting in a hurry is probably the shooter 😐 #JordanEdwards— Malik (@mr_mookie) May 1, 2017
Edwards' family is calling for the officer to be arrested and charged, Merritt said.
"They're insinuating that the car was backing up and threatened the officer but the injury is not consistent with that story," Merritt told Buzzfeed, adding "the officer was standing right there."
There are so many ways to stop a car other than shooting the driver! #JordanEdwards I shouldn't know his name— Christian😎 (@cjharris_314) May 1, 2017
The four other teens in the vehicle are not facing charges, according to Merritt. The attorney says he thinks the investigation will be objective, given it will not be conducted internally by the Balch Springs police.
Chief Haber said he had met with the teenager's family to offer condolences.
"On behalf of the entire Balch Springs Police Department, and the city of Balch Springs we express our deep, sincere condolences to the family," he said, the Dallas Morning News reported. "We will continue to reach out to the parents and keep them informed as we move forward from this point."
In a statement released Monday, Edwards, a freshman at Mesquite High School, was described by his school as 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."
Edwards was a "great kid. Awesome parents. He was not a thug. This shouldn't happen to him," said Chris Cano, the father of a friend of Edwards, according to WFAA.