A former Farmers Branch police officer who was off-duty when he says he shot and killed a teenage burglary suspect and wounded another boy in March has been indicted by a Dallas County grand jury.
Ken Johnson resigned from the Farmers Branch Police Department after being arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by the Addison Police Department.
Johnson said he saw a vehicle in his apartment complex being burglarized March 13 and he intervened. He said he got into his personal vehicle and chased two men to the 14300 block of Marsh Lane where they crashed. An altercation followed and shots were fired.
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Jose Raul Cruz, 16, was killed at the scene; the second person was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital with injuries that were not life threatening. While police have not identified the second teen shot, his family has identified him as 16-year-old Edgar Rodriguez, a friend of Cruz.
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office said the grand jury found probable cause that "Johnson knowingly caused the death of Jose Cruz and attempted to cause the death of Edgar Rodriguez Arevalo" and that the "two cases will move forward in the criminal justice system and be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office."
A spokesman for Cruz's family spoke to NBC 5 about the indictment Wednesday.
"They're not celebrating, of course, because you can't celebrate the death of Jose Cruz. You can only celebrate the fact that Officer Johnson will be charged for the murder of Jose Cruz," Carlos Quintanilla said.
The family also realizes this is far from over, he said.
"There's still a chance that he can go to trial and jury can find him not guilty, so they have temporary justice but they don't have full justice until they actually see Officer Ken Johnson in prison with a number that says convicted," explained Quintanilla.
Several of Cruz's friends said the indictment gives them hope in their ongoing fight for justice.
"I actually thought they weren't going to do anything, just let him go. That's what they do. But I'm thankful that they did do something," said friend Jensy Archaga.
"He was my family, you know, he was my cousin so I'm never going to forget him," said cousin Oscar Salinas. "He's in a better place now but nothing is the same like it used to be."
In the six months since he was killed Cruz's friends have had many conversations with their families and each other about law enforcement. They're clear in their belief that a vast majority of police officers are there to protect them.
Despite that belief there is still a real sense of fear and apprehension that Cruz's death could happen to any of them.
"I've been talking to my brother. I be like, 'Don't be doing nothing bad, because you know what happened to Jose,'" said friend Fatima Fraire.
The lawyer for Edgar Rodriguez Arevalo told NBC 5 he is encouraged by Johnson's indictment and hopes justice will be served.
We also reached out to Johnson's attorney for comment, but have yet to hear back.
Johnson is currently free after posting $150,000 bond. A trial date has not been set.
NBC 5's Tyler Sieswerda and Cory Smith contributed to this report.