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Criminal defense to homicide of DPS officer may be expected

The Texas Department of Public Safety was mourning one of its own after an officer was killed while performing a traffic stop in Freestone County. The incident occurred at 4 p.m. when the DPS officer was reportedly returning to his vehicle after confronting the suspect. The suspect allegedly shot and killed the officer at that time with a rifle. It is currently unknown whether the accused man will have a criminal defense to present to the homicide charges.

The suspect drove away after the shooting and was arrested about five hours later in Waller County, which is near Houston. While it is unclear, officials are apparently indicating that, prior to the shooting, the officer had radioed into headquarters the information on the suspect and the identification of the vehicle license plate numbers. The information was published on the Twitter account of the Denton County District Attorney while the hunt for the suspect was ongoing.

The published information included reference to the man's prior criminal history, including that he had been arrested for an offense involving violence toward police officers. That reference was apparently pertaining to an incident in July when the suspect took deputies on a car chase, struck one of their vehicles, and was charged with aggravated assault against a police officer. The assault appears to refer to the collision with the officer's vehicle.

The information related in the media reports seems to indicate that that this is a case of circumstantial evidence. One of the first things that criminal defense counsel will investigate will be whether the accused was in fact operating the suspect vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. The main evidence at this time is that a vehicle registered in Texas in the suspect's name was allegedly involved in the homicide that arose out of the traffic stop. Whether the accused was driving the vehicle is yet to be established.

Source:, "Texas trooper shot and killed during routine traffic stop", Briana Montalvo, Nov. 24, 2017

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