TEMPLE, Texas — More than a week after a 28-year-old Texas man was fatally shot in the head by a police officer, authorities haven’t released any details on the circumstances of the shooting.
Michael Dean was killed Dec. 2 in Temple, located 70 miles (112 kilometers) northeast of Austin. Dallas attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Dean’s family, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the silence from authorities is “completely unfair and particularly cruel” to Dean’s family.
“I’ve never, ever, ever, ever seen a case where there was absolutely no narrative, even if it was one that was later proved wrong,” Merritt said.
Merritt said the lack of details indicates to him that it was a “very bad incident in terms of police officer conduct.”
“Typically, law enforcement, if they had a narrative that worked for them, they would release it,” he said.
Temple police identified Dean as the victim the day after the shooting and on Tuesday identified the officer as Carmen DeCruz. Police said DeCruz wasn’t injured and per standard practice was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation of the shooting. A home phone number for DeCruz could not be located.
The Temple Daily Telegram reports that a preliminary autopsy report released Tuesday ruled Dean’s death a homicide and said he was shot in the head.
Police Chief Jim Tobin said at a news conference Friday that while said he understood the “concerns and questions” of Dean’s family and the community, he plans to answer the questions following the completion of the investigation.
The Texas Rangers are assisting in the investigation, but a spokesman Wednesday said he had no additional information.
Merritt said that a couple of hours before Dean was shot to death at 8:15 p.m., he had been talking to the mother of his 6-year-old daughter about buying a birthday cake for the girl for a weekend celebration. Merritt said Dean, who worked the night shift at an automotive parts warehouse, had been set to go to work at 11 p.m.