Witnesses recall ex-Farmers Branch cop's enraged demeanor during shooting

Emotional and dramatic testimony continued from witnesses who were nearby when a former Farmers Branch police officer opened fire on two teenagers, killing one of them.

Prosecutors are still putting on their case against Ken Johnson. Jurors spent the bulk of the day Wednesday hearing from eyewitnesses who described, in mostly consistent accounts, how the shooting unfolded. They gave a play-by-play of the chase and the gunfire and described Johnson's enraged demeanor.

One after the other, seven state witnesses laid out what they heard, saw and how they felt on March 13, 2016, as they watched from their vehicles or a nearby gas station as Johnson chased and gunned down two teenage burglary suspects.

“Opens the door, does a couple of body shots. That was the motion,” said Moyses Nieto, a nearby truck driver. “I feared for my life at this time. A couple of cars had moved. I had to stay to see what I would do next.”

Johnson is charged with murdering 16-year-old Jose Cruz, the driver a red Dodge Challenger seen on cell phone video shot by Nieto's passenger.

Johnson says he saw Cruz and his 16-year-old friend, Edgar Rodriguez, stealing from his SUV and went after them. In mostly consistent accounts, they described Johnson ramming Cruz's car with his SUV and then jumping out seconds before opening fire.

“The door flew open. He hopped out pretty fast and screamed, ‘Woo hoo!’ or ‘Woo!’ like his adrenaline was going,” recalled witness Biddle Medley. “I'm a football player so I relate everything to football. If I were to make a big hit, I'd make a similar sound.”

Nearby convenience store surveillance cameras captured patron Jasmin Felton walking outside to see the shooting. She started yelling and pleading with Johnson to stop firing his weapon. 

“He said something to the effect of, ‘Man, I'm tired of this. They stole my stuff’ and then shot again, another four or five rounds,” Felton recalled. “And I was like, ‘I'm calling the police.’ And he said, ‘That's ok. I am the police.’”

Witnesses testified after the exchange with Felton, Johnson walked around Cruz's challenger to the passenger's side to confront Rodriguez, who was already wounded and stumbling out of the car.

Cheryl Battles and her husband Norman were nearby getting gas.

“He was crawling out of the car screaming, ‘Help me! Help me!’” Cheryl recalled. “And the shooter walks over the passenger, walks around the car, ‘Get down! Get down!’ He's yelling at him, pointing a gun over his head, clicking, but there are no more bullets.”

“When that gentleman fell out of the car and that other gentleman came around with his weapon in his hand and pointed it at this man’s head and pulled the trigger, but he was out of bullets…. I can't justify that,” Norman said.

Defense attorneys tried pointing out inconsistencies in the various accounts and questioned what witnesses heard and saw from various vantage points. They say Johnson opened fire because he believed Cruz was reaching for a weapon.                   

The trial will resume on Thursday.

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