HOUSTON (AP) — A grand jury has declined to indict one Houston-area deputy for fatally shooting a man last year while two other deputies were fired for threatening a driver and punching a teenager during separate incidents, officials announced Friday.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tu Tran was working undercover in April 2020 as part of an operation looking for a murder suspect in the Houston suburb of Missouri City when he fatally shot 35-year-old Joshua Johnson.
Tran told investigators Johnson had approached his car with a pistol — later determined to be a BB gun — and failed to put the weapon down, according to prosecutors.
Johnson’s family had said they believe he might have been shot in a case of mistaken identity.
“Every bit of evidence was presented to grand jurors for their consideration. We left no stone unturned,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, whose office investigates all Houston area police shootings.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office also announced two other deputies were fired over two separate incidents from earlier this year.
Deputy Eric Sanchez, a nearly five-year veteran, was fired April 8 after video posted on social media showed he had pulled his gun and threatened to kill a driver during a Feb. 22 traffic stop on a Houston freeway.
Deputy Bert Dillow was fired Wednesday after video showed him punching a teenager in the head, knocking him to the ground and then continuing to hit him while arresting him March 26 at a Houston area convenience store. Dillow had been with the sheriff’s office since 2018 but had worked with other law enforcement agencies.
Both deputies may appeal their firings. Evidence from their cases will be shared with Ogg's office to review whether criminal charges could be filed, the sheriff’s office said.
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