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Deputy cleared in Juarez death

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By LPR Staff

Editor/POST-REGISTER

 

A Caldwell County deputy will not face felony charges in connection with the April 1, 2016, shooting death of Jesse “Chuy” Juarez.

Last week, the Caldwell County Grand Jury convened to review cases presented for felony indictment. Among those cases, according to Caldwell County District Attorne

y Fred Weber, was the shooting case against Deputy Michael Taylor, who dashcam videos show telling Juarez repeatedly to drop the “yo-yo” weedcutter he was wielding, prior to shooting Juarez three times in the chest.

Prior to the confrontation, police were summoned to South Main Street in response to a 9-1-1 call reporting an attempted burglary, wherein Juarez was accused of using the yo-yo to break out windows. The caller said Juarez also threatened to kill the residents of the home in the 1500 block of South Main, near the residence where Juarez lived for most of his life.

Caldwell County deputies responded to the scene, as Lockhart’s available patrol officers were involved with other incidents at the time. The dashcam video revealed that Taylor and Deputy Kyle McConnell both responded, and engaged in a patrol search for Juarez, who at that time had left the residence.

The homeowner later flagged down Taylor, having spotted Juarez nearby.

The videos then show Juarez advancing across South Main Street toward Taylor, who, with his weapon drawn, ordered Juarez repeatedly to drop the weedcutter. Each time, Juarez refused and continued to advance, eventually backing Taylor across the street and into the adjoining field near State Park Road.

As Juarez appeared to raise the weedcutter in an attack motion, Taylor fired.

Texas Rangers immediately stepped in to investigate the incident, and Taylor was placed on administrative leave, a standard policy in such cases, according to Weber.

That investigation revealed that Juarez had no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of his death; it also indicated that Juarez had a history of physical and mental health issues, for which he had been hospitalized in the days and weeks preceding his death. Additionally, investigators found, he was not on his prescribed medications, which social media sources said were intended to treat his mental health issues.

Though this is the first officer-involved shooting death in Caldwell County’s recent history, Weber said it is the policy of his office to send all such cases to the Grand Jury for review.

Sources said Taylor was returned to regular duty after the Grand Jury’s decision.

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