Off-Duty Officer Who Fatally Shot 16-Year-Old Burglary Suspect Charged With Murder

An off-duty Dallas police officer was arrested Wednesday on charges of murder and aggravated assault after he fatally shot a 16-year-old and wounded another teenager in the aftermath of an attempted burglary.

Addison police officers took Farmers Branch officer Ken Johnson into custody and booked him into the Dallas County Jail following the Sunday evening shooting at a gas station in Addison, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The trouble began when Johnson, 35, witnessed the two juveniles allegedly burglarizing a vehicle in the officer’s apartment complex parking lot. After Johnson gave chase, the suspects fled the scene and hopped into one of their own vehicles before Johnson followed suit. After a brief chase, the teenagers’ vehicle spun out of control and led to an altercation that ended with the shooting. All of the events in question occurred while Johnson was off-duty.

“I think that makes a significant amount of difference because he was off-duty and has apparently violated several of the police department’s policies and his own personal property was involved,” defense attorney Toby Shook told the Dallas Morning News.

Jose Raul Curz, 16, was killed during the altercation, and his classmate, Edgar Rodriguez, was hospitalized following the encounter with Johnson, according to the Morning News. It remains unknown whether or not the two teens were armed at the time of the shooting.

Cruz’s family, who held a funeral for him Wednesday evening, said that they have hired an attorney and are seeking justice for the death of their son.

“[Johnson] should pay with his life,” Cruz’s mother, Ana Henriquez, told the Morning News.

“Death penalty!” the crowd gathered at Cruz’s funeral shouted, as well.

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Johnson’s attorney, Chris Livingston, said that Johnson fired his weapon because he feared for his life, adding that the two teens had attempted to break into Johnson’s own SUV. But Addison Police Chief Paul Spencer said in a statement that there was “probable cause” to arrest Johnson, according to the Statesman. The investigation is ongoing and is expected to last several more weeks.

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

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