The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the police shooting death of Jordan Edwards, an unarmed black teenager, in Balch Springs, Texas, a spokesperson for the local district attorney’s office confirmed Thursday.
Now former Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver, 37, is facing murder charges in connection with the April 29 shooting of the 15-year-old.
According to Reuters, Brittany Dunn, a spokesperson for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, confirmed in an email Thursday that the Justice Department had opened an investigation into the shooting, a probe that would run separately from that of the district attorney’s office.
On April 29, Oliver and another officer responded to reports of underage drinking at a house party in Balch Springs. After hearing gunshots, the officers encountered four teens who were leaving the party in a vehicle.
Officers first claimed that the boys were “backing down the street toward officers in an aggressive manner,” but that statement was later retracted, with Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber acknowledging that the teens had been driving away.
Nonetheless, Oliver opened fire with his rifle, hitting Jordan in the head and killing him. The officer was fired in the aftermath and, soon after, arrested and charged.
Jordan’s father later filed a lawsuit against the Police Department and Oliver, claiming wrongful death.
Reuters notes that a Dallas Morning News report Thursday cited two unidentified law-enforcement sources who reported that the gunfire heard by the two Balch Springs officers that night actually came from a parking lot of a nursing home in the area, noting that the bullets were likely fired into the air.
Investigators reportedly recovered shell casings from the lot. It is unclear who fired the shots.
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