An off-duty Texas police officer who said he came across two teenagers trying to break into his car in the parking lot of his apartment complex Sunday, chasing them for a half-mile where he ended up shooting them, killing one of them, was arrested today on murder charges.
But only because he shot them before the sun had set.
Had Farmers Branch police officer Ken Johnson shot them at night, he would have been celebrated as a hero instead of being labeled a criminal.
He was booked into Dallas County Jail by Addison police on murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges.
According to the Texas Penal Code, deadly force cannot be used in response to theft of personal property unless it occurs at nighttime, which is defined as 30 minutes after sunset, Schulte said.
Because of Daylight Saving Time, which went into effect at 2 a.m. Sunday, the sun had not yet set when the shooting occurred between 7 and 7:30 p.m.
“If it’d been 24 hours before, it would’ve been nighttime,” Schulte said.
After Johnson confronted the teens stealing the car, the teens jumped into a Dodge Challenger and sped away as Johnson jumped into his SUV and gave chase.
About a half-mile later, he rammed their car, causing the Challenger to spin out of control.
He then shot and killed its driver, Jose Cruz, 16, as well as shot his friend, Edgar Rodriguez in the head, but Rodriguez is expected to survive after having gone through surgery.
Johnson’s attorneys, of course, defended his actions by saying “he was in fear of his life and he felt that fear was justified.”
But Cruz’s mother said her son’s “face wasn’t visible because of the blood; his hands [were] full of holes where he placed his hands to cover himself.”
But not only was Johnson not in uniform nor driving a patrol car, it is not even clear if Johnson ever identified himself as an officer.
His chief has already said the officer was not following policy, according to the Dallas Morning News.