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Homicide ruled in police shooting of black teenager near Dallas

By Mike Bambach
Jordan Edwards in an undated family photo provided by attorney S. Lee Merritt. Courtesy of S. Lee Merritt
Jordan Edwards in an undated family photo provided by attorney S. Lee Merritt. Courtesy of S. Lee Merritt

May 1 (UPI) -- The shooting death of an African-American teenager by police in a Dallas suburb was ruled a homicide Monday by the Dallas County Medical Examiner.

Jordan Edwards, 15, died after being shot in the head by a rifle Saturday night during an "unknown altercation" with police in Balch Springs.

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Police Chief Jonathan Haber reversed his initial account of the deadly confrontation after reviewing body-cam footage and determined officers "did not meet our core values."

On Sunday, Haber said officers responding to a 911 report of drunken teenagers walking around the neighborhood said they heard gunshots and a car backed down the street toward them "in an aggressive manner" when they opened fire.

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On Monday, Haber said the car full of teens was driving away from officers when they opened fire. Edwards was shot through the passenger's side window. He was transported to a hospital, where he died. No officers were injured.

The officer who fired the fatal shots, was placed on administrative duty. His name has not been released.

"On behalf of the entire Balch Springs Police Department and the city of Balch Springs we express our sincere condolences with the family," Haber said. "I have reached out and personally met and spoken with the parents and expressed my condolences as well."

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Edwards' family wants the officer arrested and charged, said attorney S. Lee Merritt. The medical examiner's ruling doesn't necessarily mean charges will be filed.

Merritt said Edwards and others in the vehicle were not the teens police had been called about. They had not been drinking, he added, and did not face charges.

Merritt described Edwards as an A-student and standout athlete beloved by his schoolmates.

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"We've heard excuses before in the past: You know why it happens, because the dads aren't present. That excuse isn't here," Merritt said. "Or the kid was violent. That excuse isn't present here."

The Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office are investigating the shooting while Balch Springs police conduct an internal review.

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