BAYTOWN, Texas — A police officer has been indicted on charges of aggravated assault more than a year after fatally shooting a schizophrenic woman in Baytown, a Houston suburb.
Baytown officer Juan Delacruz shot Pamela Shantay Turner, 45, in May 2019 after initially trying to arrest her because she had outstanding warrants. Police previously said that during a struggle between the two, Turner reached for Delacruz’s Taser and used it on him.
Texas Rangers led the investigation into the shooting and turned their findings over to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office for review. The DA then presented the findings to a grand jury, which returned with the indictment, a news release from the Baytown police said.
“We have faith and trust in our judicial system, and as we wait for this case to proceed through the legal process, we ask that our community continue to be patient and have trust and faith in those processes,” the police department said. “We also ask that our community continue to have faith and trust in the Baytown Police Department and the dedicated, professional men and women who are committed to serving all members of our community with integrity, compassion and professionalism.”
Delacruz is an 11-year veteran of the department, Baytown police said. He is still employed, but he has been placed on non-enforcement status, said Lt. Steve Dorris, a Baytown police spokesman. Non-enforcement status means Delacruz is not working the streets and his police powers have been suspended.
Turner had schizophrenia, according to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Turner’s family.
How the shooting unfolded
Police have said Delacruz was patrolling an apartment complex in the Houston suburb when he saw Turner, whom he knew had outstanding warrants. He tried to arrest her, police said.
Shaky cell phone video captured the interaction. Turner yells at the officer, “I’m walking! I’m actually walking to my house!” and then accuses Delacruz of harassing her.
As he tries to handcuff the woman, she breaks free, prompting Delacruz to deploy his Taser. Turner slowly drops to the ground, the video shows.
A scuffle ensues, and Turner keeps yelling, “Why?” Delacruz continues his attempts to take her into custody, and Turner flails her arms and yells, “I’m pregnant!”
The woman appears to reach for the officer, who stands back and fires five rounds, the video shows.
Police later said Turner “was able to gain control of the Taser and used it on the officer.”
Delacruz attempted to administer first aid, police said, but Turner was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dorris, the police spokesman, said last May that Turner was not pregnant.
Turner’s sister, Antoinette, told CNN affiliate KPRC that the woman had two children in their 20s and three grandchildren.