By MANNY FERNANDEZ and MATTHEW HAAG
BALCH SPRINGS, Texas – A police officer in a Dallas suburb was charged with murder Friday, six days after he fired his rifle into a car full of teenagers leaving a party, killing a black 15-year-old in the front passenger seat.
The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Officer Roy D. Oliver II, 37, authorities said. Oliver turned himself in in Parker County on Friday night, officials said.
Oliver, who was a patrol officer with the Balch Springs Police Department, responded late Saturday to reports of underage drinking at a house party. Oliver and another officer entered the house but left after they said they heard gunshots outside the residence.
As a car with five black teenagers inside drove away from the house, Oliver, who is white, fired his AR-15 rifle, fatally striking Jordan Edwards, a freshman at Mesquite High School, in the head, the police said.
The Balch Springs police chief fired Oliver on Tuesday, saying he had violated departmental policies. In the Police Department’s first account of the fatal shooting, Chief Jonathan Haber had said the car was reversing aggressively toward the officers when Oliver opened fire. But after Haber reviewed the two officers’ body cameras, he corrected that description: The car had reversed but was accelerating forward and away from the officers when Jordan was struck.
The Edwards family released a statement Friday evening calling the arrest warrant “a bit of a reprieve in a time of intense mourning.”
“Although we realize that there remain significant obstacles ahead on the road to justice, this action brings hope that the justice system will bend against the overwhelming weight of our frustration,” the family said.
Jordan’s family released a statement Friday before the arrest warrant was made public urging people not to protest at Jordan’s funeral. “Though we understand what his life and death mean symbolically, we are not ready to make a martyr of our son,” the family said.
Linda Oliver, Oliver’s mother, said Friday night, “We are under a hard no comment.” She said her son is being represented by James Lane, a Fort Worth lawyer, who did not return a call or email.