BAYTOWN, Texas (AP) — A Texas police officer has been charged with assault for fatally shooting a woman after a struggle over the officer's stun gun last year, prosecutors announced Monday.
A Harris County grand jury indicted Baytown Officer Juan Delacruz Monday for shooting Pamela Turner in the parking lot of an apartment complex where they both lived in May 2019.
Delacruz was charged with aggravated assault by a public servant, a felony that could lead to a sentence of five years to life in prison if he's convicted. Prosecutors said he'll be given the chance to turn himself in.
Delacruz shot Turner after a struggle with the 44-year-old Black woman that a bystander captured on video.
The footage showed Delacruz standing over Turner and reaching down to try to grab her arms. Turner then yells, “I’m pregnant.” Moments later, something flashes as she reaches her arm out toward the officer. Suddenly, Delacruz pulls away and fires five gunshots.
Police in the Houston suburb said the Hispanic officer shot Turner during an attempted arrest after she shocked him with his Taser. Court records showed three outstanding misdemeanor warrants against Turner at the time.
A lawyer for Turner's family said that she was not pregnant but had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and that Delacruz knew his neighbor suffered from mental illness.
Delacruz's attorney and a spokesman for the Baytown police department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Delacruz returned to work less than two weeks after the shooting, but the department said he'd be on administrative duty while the Texas Rangers and the civil rights division of the Harris County district attorney’s office investigate the shooting.
District Attorney Kim Ogg on Monday called Turner’s death a tragedy.
"It is important to acknowledge that her family and the community are in pain,” she said.
A lawyer for Turner's family did not immediately respond to a request for comment.