Jordan Edwards' death ruled a homicide
No criminal charges brought against officer
Police in a Dallas suburb have changed their story on the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of a teenager outside a house party over the weekend.
Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber initially said a car was moving “aggressively” toward officers when one of them fired into it Saturday night, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, but the chief told reporters Monday he “misspoke.”
On Monday, Haber said body camera footage showed the car was driving forward, away from the officers – not reversing toward them.
“I take responsibility for that,” Haber said. He added that the officer’s behavior “did not meet our core values.”
The officer’s behavior “did not meet our core values,” Haber said.
Officers broke up the house party in response to reports of underaged drinking.
Jordan died from a fatal wound to the head, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office. The freshman Mesquite High School student-athlete’s death was ruled a homicide.
Police were looking for the owners of the house when shots were allegedly heard in the area, creating chaos right before Jordan was shot, according to Balch Springs Police Public Information Officer Pedro Gonzalez.
Haber declined to say whether any shots were fired or whether the boys in the car were armed, citing the ongoing investigation.
The officer fired three shots into the car, Merritt told CNN, based on eyewitness accounts from the other boys in the car.
Jordan’s 16-year-old brother and others were detained and questioned, but the boys were not arrested nor charged, Merritt said.
Jordan was transported to Baylor University hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries, according to a BSPD press release.
Attorney: ‘There’s more than enough probable cause’
Both the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office have launched criminal investigations into the shooting.
The 6-year veteran of the Balch Springs police force who fired the fatal shot was placed on administrative leave, but has not been charged or arrested. His identity is not being released at this time, Haber said.
The officer had no similar prior incidents, Haber said, and BSPD is conducting a separate internal administrative review of the incident.
“The Balch Springs Police Department, regardless of how this whole thing turns out, we are here to serve this community,” Haber said.
Haber met with Jordan’s parents twice since his death, expressing condolences on behalf of the department and the city.
Merritt said the teen’s death is a call to action against excessive police force.
“We are declaring (a) war on bad policing,” Merritt said Monday. “America, throughout the country, must figure out a way to police its citizens without killing them.”
Family privately grieving
Jordan’s family has not spoken publicly, wishing to grieve privately until after the funeral, Merritt told CNN. They saw Jordan’s body for the first time late Monday night, he said.
Jordan will be remembered for his smile, those who knew him told reporters. Grief counselors were made available at Mesquite High School, because Edwards was such a well-known, well-liked member of the community, Merritt said.
“The entire district – especially the staff and students of Mesquite High School – are mourning this terrible loss,” a Mesquite High School statement said.
A prayer vigil was held Monday night at the high school for the community. A funeral has not yet been scheduled, according to Merritt.