A Farmers Branch, Texas police officer was arrested on charges of murder and aggravated assault March 16 after shooting two teenagers three days earlier.
Ken Johnson was detained around 6 p.m. and charged with the murder of 16-year-old Jose Cruz, according to WFAA.
Cruz was with his school friend Edgar Rodriguez when the incident occurred March 13.
Johnson alleged he saw the two boys try to break in to his personal vehicle before they took off in their Dodge Challenger.
Johnson pursued them in his vehicle, and surveillance footage shows that after a couple of miles the officer rammed the back of Cruz’s car, resulting in the vehicle spinning off the highway.
“Based on our investigation thus far we had probable cause to make the arrest this evening,” a statement from Addison Police Chief Paul Spencer read. “But this is a rapidly evolving situation and it remains an active investigation.”
Farmers Branch Police Chief Sid Fuller told the media that Johnson had violated police procedure by using his own vehicle to pursue Cruz.
Johnson’s decision to ram the Dodge was also a breach of procedure, according to the chief.
“That’s just something we don’t do,” said Fuller, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Fuller’s department is responsible for the internal investigation, while Spencer is in charge of the criminal inquiry.
“Let me emphasize that while we’re moving as quickly as possible, we will not rush this investigation,” Fuller added.
Ana Henriquez, Cruz’s mother, spoke with police prior to Johnson’s arrest and was informed the officer would be punished.
“I hope what they told me is true,” she added.
Cruz died at the scene, while Rodriguez underwent surgery after being shot in the head and is expected to survive.
“His face wasn’t visible because of the blood; his hands [were] full of holes where he placed [them] to cover himself,” Eva Arevalo, Rodriguez’s mother, told the Morning News.
Chris Livingston, Johnson’s attorney, said his client feared for his safety when he opened fire. The police have not said whether Cruz and Rodriguez were armed.
“I think that this officer kind of assumed that these young two Latinos were thieves, driving a nice Dodge Challenger,” said Carlos Quintanella, a local civil rights organizer and spokesperson for the Cruz family.