According to reports, Edwards, a freshman at Mesquite High School, was attempting to leave a rowdy house party when he was shot and killed. He was unarmed and in a car with his brother and friends. No one is believed to have been drinking underage, and none of the car’s other occupants have been arrested. The identity of the officer who shot him is also unknown.
Two contradictory stories surrounding the shooting have emerged in the time since it transpired. When briefing reporters on Sunday, Balch Springs police chief Jonathan Haber said that officers were dispatched to a residential street where a house party had gotten out of hand.
“There was an unknown altercation with the vehicle backing down the road towards the officers in an aggressive manner,” a news release from the Balch Springs police read. “An officer shot at the vehicle, striking a front seat passenger. The individual was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased.”
Lee Merritt, an attorney for Edwards’ family, denied the suggestion that the car was driven aggressively. In a series of tweets, Merritt criticized the force used by police officers, and referenced the ongoing national crisis caused by police brutality.
Merritt told the Washington Post that Edwards and his friends had seen flashlights and heard gunshots upon exiting the party. They were fired upon while in the car, and quickly drove away, stopping only when, Merritt said, they noticed smoke coming from Edwards’ head. He died after being transported to the hospital.
Edwards was killed with a rifle, according to an announcement made by the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s office on Monday. His death was also ruled a homicide by the office, though this does not guarantee that charges will be filed. Mapping Police Violence, which works to gather data on the number of black people killed in the United States by police, considers Edwards to be the 105th black person to be killed by police this year.
Dallas News reported that Edwards was popular at school, and well-liked. Head football coach Jeff Fleener expressed devastation over Edwards’ killing.
“The best thing in the world or the worst thing in the world would happen, and he’d smile and everything would be okay,” Fleener told Dallas News. “You create a checklist of everything you would want in a player, a son, a teammate, a friend and Jordan had all that. He was that kid.”
Balch Springs squad cars contain cameras, and officers wear body cameras. Merritt told the Washington Post that footage of the killing seems to exist, and is now with the sheriff’s office. Both the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office are conducting investigations into the shooting. An internal investigation will also be conducted by the Balch Springs Police Department.
Author: E.A. Crunden