DA Wants Shooting Suspect Put to Death for Dallas Officer’s Slaying

The Dallas County district attorney is seeking the death penalty for the man accused of killing a Dallas police officer and wounding his partner and a loss prevention associate at a Home Depot store last month. Armando Luis Juarez, 30, was indicted on five felony charges in the April 24 shooting: one count of capital murder, one count of attempted capital murder, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a public servant. District Attorney Faith Johnson said Tuesday she “carefully considered” the evidence in the case before deciding her office will seek capital punishment. She said they looked at “not only the offense itself.”  “We considered the circumstances. We considered everything that took place leading up” to the shooting, Johnson said.

Juarez’s criminal record doesn’t show any violent offenses before April 24, when police say he pulled a gun on the two officers and a loss prevention associate. He also fired at two other officers during the five-hour manhunt after the Home Depot shooting, authorities say. Officers Rogelio Santander and Crystal Almeida responded to a shoplifting call at the Home Depot near U.S. Highway 75 and Forest Lane. The loss prevention associate, Scott Painter, saw Juarez behaving suspiciously and possibly trying to steal something. A Dallas officer working an off-duty job at the store detained Juarez for an outstanding warrant. While the off-duty officer was double-checking the warrant, Juarez pulled a gun and shot Santander, Almeida and Painter. Santander, 27, died the next day. Almeida, 26, was released from the hospital this weekend. Painter was released last week. Almeida was shot in the face, and Painter was shot three times.

Juarez fled but was later spotted in southeast Dallas. When two officers in a police cruiser started following Juarez’s vehicle on the highway, he fired a handgun several times at them, they said. The car chase ended in a neighborhood near Love Field. Juarez threw his handgun out of his vehicle, and officers found a box of ammunition and several shell casings inside the car. Dallas Police Association President Michael Mata said Tuesday that the shooting “just reinforces the dangers of the job.” “We need to consider every call no matter how routine it is, no matter how commonplace it is that it can go bad,” he said.

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Mata said he was happy to hear Juarez was indicted and that the DA is seeking the death penalty.  “It is obviously a premeditated crime that he committed. And he should be met by the fullest extent of the law, and in Texas, that includes the death penalty,” he said. The police group is also asking the Dallas Police Department to consider broadening the policy on when officers can handcuff someone. Juarez was with the two officers and the loss prevention associate in a Home Depot office when he “removed his hands from his pockets, drew a handgun and shot both officers.” Mata said he hopes the Police Department allows officers to have “the ability that when investigating any possible criminal activity that we handcuff for citizens’ or officers’ safety.” Though Juarez had no violent criminal history, he had been arrested twice in the five months before the fatal shooting: once in December on a felony theft charge and again in January on an unlawful use of a motor vehicle charge.  [Source: Dallas News]

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