Per the local-CBS affiliate, 52-year-old Temple police officer, Carmen DeCruz, was hit with manslaughter charges for his hand in the Dec. 2 murder of 28-year-old Michael Dean. DeCruz reportedly shot and killed Dean after "an altercation of some sort" following a brief pursuit.
"The Texas Rangers investigation developed facts and evidence which support the elements of manslaughter," Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza told the media.
DeCruz was allegedly trying to flag down Dean's car but he didn't stop immediately. The officers then allegedly chased after Dean's vehicle. After Dean eventually stopped at an intersection, body cams show DeCruz approaching the car with his gun drawn and his finger on the trigger. DeCruz decided to reach in the car and grab Dean's keys out the ignition. As he tugged on the keys, DeCruz also pulled back on the trigger resulting in the gun shooting Dean in the head. DeCruz reportedly issued life-saving measures to no avail.
Dean's family doesn't believe their loved one's death was an accident. Following DeCruz's arrest, the family attorney, Lee Merritt, issued a statement claiming that the officer "intended" to kill Dean.
"The Dean family finds this charge wholly inappropriate given DeCruz intended to cause death when he shot Dean in the head," Merritt said. "Michael Dean was shot in his temple through a closed door seconds after being pulled over for a minor traffic violation. It is clear that Carmen DeCruz intended to cause serious bodily harm when he shot Michael Dean in the face without justification. We are demanding that the appropriate charges be pursued."
If Dean was arrested and taken to jail, it is likely that he would have only received an evading arrest charge.
DeCruz has been on administrative leave since the Dec. incident. He was arrested on Monday and his bond was set at $500,000.