ADDISON, Texas - The family of the teenager who was killed by an off-duty Farmers Branch police officer is demanding answers. And they may get those answers soon.
Farmers Branch Officer Ken Johnson shot 16-year-old Jose Cruz and another teen Sunday night in Addison. The other teen, identified as Edgar Rodriguez, is recovering from a gunshot wound.
Police said Officer Johnson was off duty when he saw his vehicle being burglarized at his apartment complex. He got into his SUV and chased the teenagers, who were in a red sports car.
Surveillance video shows the vehicles near Marsh Lane and Spring Valley Road. One witnesses told FOX 4 the SUV hit the car and then someone got out and started shooting.
Another witness who was getting gas at the time of the incident told FOX4 he heard Johnson tell police, “I saw them stealing a car and I shot them.”
Cruz’s family met with the police chiefs from both Addison and Farmers Branch Tuesday morning. They appeared emotional as they walked into the closed-door meeting.
“The family believes that the officer acted inappropriately that force was not necessary and that the life of Jose Cruz should not have been taken,” said Carlos Quintanilla, a community activist who is working with the family.
Quintanilla shared photographs of the shooting sent to him by a witness. In one of the photos Johnson is pointing a gun into the driver’s side of Cruz’s car. The door is open. In another photo, his passenger appears to be sitting on the curb after also being shot.
Police said there was a confrontation before the shooting, but they have not said whether Cruz or his passenger had any weapons.
“We will not rush the investigation. We’re working very hard around the clock to make sure the family has some idea of closure and ultimate resolution to this thing,” said Addison Police Chief Paul Spencer.
Farmers Branch Police Chief Sid Fuller said Johnson is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The department is working closely with Addison police.
“Our internal investigation is second to the criminal investigation,” he said.
Both chiefs called the case complicated, adding that there is a lot of scientific evidence, eye witness accounts and video. They asked for patience to get it right.
Police may complete the criminal investigation by the end of the week and at that time the outcome will be made public. More details are expected to be released at a joint press conference Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday night friends and relatives gathered at Bachman Lake in Dallas to mourn the teen’s death.
Cindy Saldivar, his girlfriend’s mother, described him as a hard-working young man who went to school and still worked a full-time job.
“He was only 16 years old and he didn’t deserve to have his life taken away. Something else could have been done,” she said.
Protestors who gathered peacefully outside the two police departments Tuesday morning chanted Cruz’s name.