Late on Tuesday evening, the family of Jordan Edwards released a statement praising the firing of the officer who fatally shot their son but noting the long road to justice for Edwards that lies ahead.
Edwards, a 15-year-old student, was killed in Balch Springs, a Dallas suburb, on Saturday after a police officer fired into the passenger side window of a vehicle he was traveling in with his brothers and friends. Officers on the scene had stated that the vehicle was reversing toward them in an "aggressive manner," and that, resultantly, one officer fired his shotgun at the car, fatally shooting Edwards. However, video footage later showed that the car was, in fact, traveling away from police. Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber acknowledged this on Monday, and said that the officer's actions "did not meet our core values."
On Tuesday, Haber announced that Roy Oliver, the officer who fatally shot Edwards had been fired, saying "after reviewing the findings I have made the decision to terminate Oliver's employment with the Balch Springs Police Department ... You have my assurances my department will continue to be responsive, transparent and accountable." The Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's office's Integrity Unit are holding separate investigations.
Shortly after Haber's announcement regarding Oliver's firing, Edwards' family released a new press statement. The statement thanked Haber for his "strides toward justice" and indicated that they were "grateful" that Oliver had been fired. However, the family also noted the very long road ahead toward achieving justice for their son, indicating that they desire to see the officer arrested and charged for fatally shooting their son.
We anxiously await this officer's identification and arrest for the crime of murder. The magnitude of his horrible actions cannot be overstated. We fully expect an equivalent response from those responsible for investigating and punishing the crime.
The family also expressed their sadness and anger that the other teenagers in the car on the night of the shooting, including Edwards' two brothers, Vidal and Kevon, and two friends, were arrested by police and allegedly "treated as common criminals" as Edwards lay fatally wounded next to them. The full text of the family's press statement is included below.
It is clear that Edwards' loving family wants to achieve justice for their son, whom they described as "a loving child, with a humble and sharing spirit."
While no criminal charges have been filed yet against Oliver, the District Attorney's office is currently in the process of determining whether or not charges will be filed in the case. Cindy Stormer, Oliver's lawyer, told The Dallas Morning News that he will not comment at this time.
In the meantime, hopefully Edwards' family finds some solace in the wonderful impact that their son has had on the lives of others. Many family members, friends, coaches, and teachers have spoken out about Edwards' wonderful personality and his "smile that could light up a room." Hopefully, his family can will comfort from the community that so loved their son as they await justice for his senseless death.