DALLAS - A Dallas County grand jury began hearing from witnesses in the Home Depot shooting where a gunman killed one Dallas police officer and critically injured a second officer and a civilian.
The grand jury heard from witnesses on Thursday about the shooting suspect, 29-year-old Armando Luis Juarez. It’s the first step as two investigations play out at the same time by Dallas PD and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.
Investigators began getting witness testimony on the record right away after the shooting Tuesday at Home Depot.
“The DA’s office needs to get on the case early so they can develop the type of evidence and look at the evidence they need to determine if they are gonna seek the death penalty,” explained former prosecutor Toby Shook, who is not connected to the case.
The gun recovered after Juarez was in custody is part of the ongoing investigation. It’s unclear if he owned the weapon, if it was stolen or borrowed.
“As long as he had the weapon and used it, that’s all they care about proving,” Shook said. “And that’s all they need to prove.”
Shook has tried several cases where defendants were accused of capital murder after killing police. While the district attorney's investigation will include some of the same evidence and witnesses as the police investigation, it is independent of DPD's case.
“What the DA's office will do will begin looking into not only the evidence that shows guilt but also background because they'll have to prove future danger if they seek the death penalty,” Shook said.
DPD Officer Rogelio Santander was shot and killed. DPD Officer Crystal Almeida and Home Depot Loss Prevention Officer Scott Painter are trying to come back from their significant injuries after they were all shot in the face and head area.
“Any time you have a lethal shot such as the head and particularly all three victims, it’s obvious the defendant was aiming for the head,” Shook said. “It will come into consideration as to his true intent wanting to cause death when he fired that weapon.”
Following a dizzying chase from Pleasant Grove to the Oak Lawn/ Uptown area, Juarez and a female passenger who was in the truck at Home Depot were both taken into custody. Her name has not been released or whether she was in jail.
“The police will have interviewed her extensively to determine what he was telling her, what their relationship, was what his emotional state was and any incriminating statements he may have made,” Shook said.
The truck police released images of Tuesday night while looking for Juarez was not the same white truck he was in at the end of the chase. Police still have not located the first vehicle.
While witnesses were giving statements on Thursday, the presentation to a grand jury is nowhere near complete. There is a 90-day window from the time a person has been charged for a case to be presented in total and for a jury to indict or not.