A Tarrant County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict three Fort Worth police officers who fatally shot a man who they say backed his SUV toward one officer as he approached the vehicle from behind.
Sixto Eduardo Quezada, 22, was shot in the chest on Feb. 9, 2013, in the 3100 block of Pecan Street, authorities reported.
The officers had been following Quezada’s white sport utility vehicle because it matched the description of a vehicle seen leaving the scene of an earlier shooting in the Diamond Hill area, a news release from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office said.
On Pecan Street, Quezada stopped and got out of the SUV. The officers got out of their cars and walked toward Quezada, the news release said. Quezada jumped back into his vehicle, put it in reverse and accelerated toward one of the officers, who opened fire, the release said.
Fearing that the officer had been run over and was being dragged, the other officers also fired, the release said.
Quezada was struck three times in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators later determined that Quezada was not involved in the shooting earlier that night, the release said.
No gun was found in the SUV, police said.
“A Texas peace officer is justified in using deadly force when confronted with deadly force,” said Jack Strickland, the prosecutor who presented the case to the grand jury with Robert Huseman. “That is true whether the suspect threatens an officer with a gun, or a knife or a motor vehicle.”
“Because the officers were not arrested, charged or indicted, the district attorney’s office will not be releasing their names,” the news release said.
Quezada's father, Jose Quezada, told the Star-Telegram earlier that he was convinced that his son wasn't trying to run over the officer but was scared and trying to get away.
“He called me that night to say the police were following him,” Jose Quezada said. “He sounded upset. The next thing we know a detective came to our house and said there had been an accident. As the detective was leaving, he finally said that [Sixto] had been shot.”
On Thursday, the family’s attorney, Eduardo Cañas, said, “I am not pleased” about the grand jury’s decision.
“It was a terrible tragedy that did not have to result in a death,” Cañas said. “From what little I was able to gather they were looking for a certain automobile and it was not Sixto’s automobile.”
After the shooting, the Quezada family filed a notice of claim against the city, indicating that a lawsuit would be filed. None has been filed, Cañas said.
According to Tarrant County criminal court records, Quezada was arrested nine times between December 2008 and July 2010, all by Fort Worth police. His last arrest ended in a conviction for deadly conduct and he went to prison. He was released in February 2012.