DALLAS - The criminal case against a former Farmers Branch police officer who fatally shot a teenage robbery suspect will move forward.
A Dallas County grand jury determined there is probable cause that Ken Johnson knowingly caused the death of 16-year-old Jose Cruz and attempted to cause the death of his friend, Edgar Rodriguez.
The shooting happened in March. Police said Johnson was off duty when he saw two people burglarizing his personal vehicle at his apartment complex in Addison.
He allegedly got into his SUV and chased the teenagers. One witness told FOX 4 the SUV hit the car and then Johnson got out and started shooting.
Another witness said he heard Johnson tell the police, “I saw them stealing a car and I shot them.”
Friends and family say they're relieved Johnson will have to stand trial for Cruz's murder.
“It brought tears and a big smile on my face at the same time,” said family friend Sindy Castelan. “It was an emotion I just can't explain.”
Robert Rogers, one of Johnson’s attorneys, said in a statement:
“An indictment was a predetermined formality once Addison quickly and prematurely decided to arrest Ken. At trial, we expect to prove that Ken was the victim of a crime and his actions were justified.”
Johnson's attorneys have said his actions unfolded because he feared for his life.
“I hope he learns from what he did. He took a young man's life away,” said Castelan. “He could've reacted in a different way.”
Johnson resigned from his job with the Farmers Branch Police Department shortly after the shooting.
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the two cases. If convicted of second-degree murder, Johnson faces anywhere from psecond-degree0 years in jail.