2017-05-04 / Front Page

Deputy not Indicted for Officer Involved Shooting

The Lee County Grand Jury did not indict Lee County Deputy David Jessup for a February 8, 2017 incident where he shot a man. According to the Lee County Attorney, Martin Placke, the Grand Jury met on Friday, April 28, to consider a law enforcement officer involved shooting. Robert Louis Luza of Burton was shot during an incident that began as a call to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department as a welfare concern for a man lying near his truck at a location off CR 424 near Dime Box. Lee County Sheriff’s Deputies David Jessup and Byron Holloway responded.

The report indicated that Luza became confrontational and failed to comply with the officers’ commands. It said Luza got into his 2003 Chevrolet pickup truck and drove through a closed gate, continuing towards Deputy Holloway, who was standing near his patrol vehicle. Luza rammed into the back of Deputy Holloway’s patrol vehicle, knocking it into another patrol vehicle that was at the scene. Luza backed up a second time and rammed Deputy Holloway’s vehicle again.

During the incident, Deputy Jessup fired at Luza with his department issued service handgun, striking Luza two times. Luza was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bryan. He is reportedly recovering.

After being notified of the shooting, Lee County Sheriff Rodney Meyer requested that the Texas Rangers investigate the incident. Ranger Brent Barina arrived at the scene the night of the shooting and led the investigation. He was assisted by other Rangers and law enforcement personnel.

Ranger Barina presented his investigation and findings to the Grand Jury for their consideration of any criminal charges resulting from the investigation. The Grand Jury determined that no charges should be filed against Deputy Jessup. Sheriff Meyer has reported the shooting incident to the Texas Attorney General, as required by law.

Lee County Attorney Martin Placke said, “Incidents of possible improper use of force by law enforcement personnel are taken seriously. In this case, Sheriff Meyer immediately called in an outside agency to investigate the shooting to avoid any potential conflict of interest claim during the investigation.”

Placke added, “In instances where the level of force by law enforcement personnel is an issue, Texas law provides that a peace officer is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to make or assist in making an arrest or search.”

Placke concluded, “A grand Jury is an independent group of citizens from our county. While Grand Jury evidence is presented by law enforcement witnesses, all of a Grand Jury’s deliberations and decision making are conducted outside the presence and influence of law enforcement and prosecution personnel. This Grand Jury considered all the evidence presented and concluded that the use of force in this instance by Deputy Jessup against Mr. Luza was justified.”

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