Former Farmers Branch Police Officer Found Guilty of Murder, Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon

Sentencing will take place Jan. 8, 2018

A former Farmers Branch police officer has been found guilty of murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after shooting two teens, one fatally, last March.

Prosecutors said Ken Johnson was off-duty March 13, 2016 when he spotted two 16-year-olds stealing car seats from his SUV. He confronted the teens, identified later as Jose Cruz and Edgar Rodriguez, who then drove off.

Johnson got into his SUV and chased the teens, eventually crashing into their vehicle.

With the teens stopped, Johnson then ran toward their car. As he approached, prosecutors said, he fired 16 shots from a fully-loaded handgun, killing Cruz and severely injuring Rodriguez.

Johnson, who pleaded not guilty in Cruz's death, resigned from the Farmers Branch police force shortly after the shooting.

During the trial, prosecutors showed jurors surveillance video from an Addison business which shows Johnson's SUV slam into Cruz's car and then the officer running toward the vehicle.

"The only audible sound that a few witnesses who were close by heard come out of this man's mouth when he jumped out of that SUV was, 'Woo-hoo,'" Hermus told jurors. "He literally said, 'Woo-hoo!'"

Johnson's defense attorney told jurors the off-duty officer feared for his life after seeing Cruz, inside the car, reach for something that he thought may have been a weapon.

But neither teenager had a weapon.

"This is a tragedy. It is not a crime," attorney Robert Rogers told jurors Monday. "Ken Johnson has spent his entire adult life serving people, and on that day it was a reaction — a reaction as a police officer and as a citizen."

Members of Cruz's family were in the courtroom for the first day of testimony.

"The wishes for the family is that there will be justice for Jose Cruz," family spokesman Carlos Quintanilla said outside the courtroom. "The only justice for Jose Cruz is that Ken Johnson gets convicted for murder of this 16-year-old boy."

Sentencing will take place Jan. 8, 2018.

NBC 5's Frank Heinz contributed to this report.

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