The officer connected to the shooting death of Baytown resident Pamela Turner was indicted on Monday (September 14).
A Harris County grand jury indicted Juan Delacruz on a charge of first-degree aggravated assault by a public servant in the May 2019 shooting death of Turner. Per investigators, Delacruz encountered the 44-year-old Turner while he was on patrol and knew she had outstanding warrants. During the encounter, Turner allegedly reached for Delacruz’s Taser to shock him with it and that’s when Delacruz opened fire, killing her.
The killing gained local and national attention after cellphone video of the incident went viral. In it, Delacruz can be seen drawing his weapon and shooting Turner multiple times while she was on the ground, killing her.
If found guilty of aggravated assault by a public servant, a felony, Delacruz can be punished anywhere from 5 years to life in prison.
Turner’s family said she suffered from mental illness. The case was investigated by the Texas Rangers and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
“Pam Turner’s killing was a tragedy; it is important to acknowledge that her family and the community are in pain. Ultimately, we presented all of the evidence to a grand jury that determined the Baytown Police officer should be charged with a crime for his actions when he shot Ms. Turner,” Harris County DA Kim Ogg said in a statement. “We respect their decision and we will be moving forward with prosecution.”
Attorney Ben Crump, who is also representing the families of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, said that while the family can “receive the justice to which they are entitled,” he believes that “justice delayed is justice denied.”
Delacruz has yet to turn himself in for arraignment.
The Baytown Police Department released a statement in response to Delacruz’s indictment.
“We have faith and trust in our judicial system, and as we wait for this case to proceed through the legal process, we ask that our community continue to be patient and have trust and faith in those processes. We also ask that our community continue to have faith and trust in the Baytown Police Department and the dedicated, professional men and women who are committed to serving all members of our community with integrity, compassion and professionalism.”