June 12, 2014

Grand jury declines to indict Watauga officer in fatal shooting

The officer fatally shot Brandon Lee Melton, 25, who was stabbing his pregnant girlfriend. Melton had already stabbed a friend of the girlfriend.

A Tarrant County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict a Watauga patrol officer in the fatal shooting in January of a man who was stabbing his pregnant girlfriend in a yard.

The officer fired one shot, hitting Brandon Lee Melton, 25, in the head on Jan. 3.

Neither the Tarrant County district attorney’s office nor Watauga police Chief Lowell Canaday identified the officer.

The officer was dispatched on a domestic violence call about 1:20 p.m. to the 6400 block of Patsy Lane in Watauga. He was just blocks away when he received the call.

He found one woman on the ground, stabbed, and a pregnant woman being stabbed. The officer ordered Melton to drop the weapon, but he refused, Watauga police said.

The officer fired one shot from about 10 feet away, hitting Melton in the head, police said.

Melton died a few days later at John Peter Smith Hospital after being removed from life support.

Melton’s girlfriend had been at the house to gather her belongings because she was leaving him, prosecutors said. A friend was there to help.

The women were taken to local hospitals. Melton’s girlfriend later deliver a healthy baby girl, prosecutors said.

“This relatively inexperienced officer exhibited remarkable calm and competence in the midst of a vicious and unprovoked attack,” said prosecutor Jack Strickland in a news release Thursday. Strickland and prosecutor Robert Huseman presented the case to the grand jurors.

“His quick action that day unquestionably saved one, if not three, innocent lives.”

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