A former police officer in Temple has been indicted for manslaughter in a 2019 case in which he shot an unarmed man who had been pulled over for speeding after a short pursuit, KWTX reported.
The former officer, 52-year-old Carmen DeCruz, is accused in the death of Michael Dean, 28, of Temple, last December. DeCruz was arrested on Feb. 10 and remains in the Bell County Jail in lieu of a $500,000 bond, the TV station reported.
Dean’s family had to wait weeks before Temple police released any substantive information about his death.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, DeCruz attempted to stop Dean after observing him speeding. When Dean did not stop, according to the arrest warrant affidavit, the officer chased him. Dean stopped at an intersection and DeCruz got out of his patrol car with gun drawn. With his finger on the trigger, DeCruz ordered Dean to turn off the vehicle and hand him the keys, the affidavit says.
“Officer DeCruz is seen reaching into Dean’s vehicle in an attempt to gain control of the keys to the vehicle with his left hand while holding his duty-issued firearm, a handgun, in his right hand,” the affidavit says.
The document says that as DeCruz pulled on the keys with his left hand, “his right hand also pulls backwards causing the handgun to fire, striking Michael Dean in the head.”
KWTX reported that both a death report submitted by Temple Police Investigations Sgt. Robert Mallett and a brief filed with the Texas Attorney General’s Office confirmed that Dean was unarmed.