Murder trial underway for ex-officer accused of killing teen

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2017 5:05 PM

DALLAS (AP) — An off-duty police officer chased two teenagers who were burglarizing his SUV and killed one of them after firing his gun more than a dozen times, prosecutors told a Dallas jury on Monday during the former officer's murder trial.

Ken Johnson has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the death of 16-year-old Jose Cruz. Johnson resigned from the police force in the Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch shortly after the March 2016 shooting in nearby Addison.

The shooting occurred after Johnson saw two people burglarizing his personal SUV, according to investigators. Surveillance video shows that Johnson chased the teens with his SUV, rammed the teens' car and then repeatedly fired into their stopped vehicle.

The second teenager, Edgar Rodriguez, suffered a head wound and lost a finger in the shooting. He testified Monday that Johnson didn't say anything before firing into the car. Rodriguez previously acknowledged that he and Cruz were trying to steal seats from the SUV.

Johnson's attorneys have said the former officer feared for his life.

Johnson worked as a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer for nearly eight years before he was hired by Farmers Branch police in March 2015.

Johnson was cleared of two excessive force complaints while with the transit agency. In one instance, a background investigator for Farmers Branch said the complaint was the result of Johnson "attempting to remove a combative person from the train" and that the excessive force allegations were "unfounded."