A family and community in suburban Dallas is asking why a 15-year-old who was leaving a party is dead at the hands of a police officer who fired into the vehicle he was riding in, and they want justice. But all the police department responsible is offering so far is condolences.
Police in Balch Springs, Tex., were responding to a call on Saturday night of several underage teenagers walking around intoxicated. When officers arrived they heard gunfire and an “unknown altercation” took place with a vehicle that was backing down a street toward officers. One officer pulled his weapon and fired at the vehicle, striking a front seat passenger, who later died at a hospital. A press release from Balch Springs police did not identify the victim, but the Dallas Morning News identified him as Jordan Edwards, a freshman at Mesquite High School.
The paper said he was leaving a party when he was fatally wounded and Edwards’ family does not believe that their son was among the teens who were intoxicated or were mixed up in any trouble at all. Lee Merritt, the family attorney says that Edwards and the others in the car were not the teenagers that police had been called for and were not drinking. He said the police’s account of the incident “will not hold water.”
According to a press release on Merritt’s law office’s Facebook page, Edwards was leaving the party, which “dozens” of other youths attended, when the group of teens he was with were leaving their parking space when they “heard someone shout profanity at them” who appeared to be a police officer. But before the driver could respond, the officer fired multiple shots at the car, with one of the rounds striking Edwards in the head.
He said based on witness accounts, the shooting was unjustified and the family is calling for a thorough investigation of what happened.
“As the family struggles to deal with the pointless murder of their child they now have to face false claims of under-age drinking and fabrications about ‘aggressive’ behavior,” Merritt said. “The facts will bear out the truth and on behalf of the family we demand transparency with all facts and evidence involved. The family is calling on the community to stand with them, resolute in the demand for justice.”
Jordan’s family has not yet spoken publicly about the shooting.
Balch Springs police chief Jonathan Haber told the Morning News he does not have any information on whether weapons were found in the car, but Merritt mentioned an “absence of weapons” in his press release.
So far, law enforcement has offered Edwards’ family little in the way of an answer or explanation, but they officer involved has been placed on administrative leave and his name has not been released. The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department are investigating.
“On behalf of the entire Balch Springs Police Department, and the city of Balch Springs we express our deep, sincere condolences to the family,” Haber said. “We will continue to reach out to the parents and keep them informed as we move forward from this point.”
But that was little solace to those who knew Edwards. “It could have easily been my son,” said Chris Cano Sr., who told the Morning News he has known Edwards since he was six years old. He said the teen “was not a thug, and he had great parents.”