Trooper Who Fired From Copter, Killing 2, Was Trying to Disable Truck
A Texas state trooper who fired on a pickup truck from a helicopter and killed two illegal immigrants during a chase through the desert was trying to disable the vehicle and suspected it was being used to smuggle drugs, authorities said Friday.
The disclosure came a day after the incident that left two Guatemalan nationals dead on an isolated gravel road near the town of La Joya, just north of the Mexico border.
After the shots were fired and the truck’s tires blown out, the driver lost control and crashed into a ditch. State police said a preliminary investigation revealed that the shots struck the vehicle’s occupants.
Eight people in the truck were arrested. No drugs were found.
An expert on police chases said the decision to fire on the truck was “a reckless act” that served “no legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
“In 25 years following police pursuits, I hadn’t seen a situation where an officer shot a speeding vehicle from a helicopter,” said Geoffrey Alpert, professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina. Such action would be reasonable only if “you know for sure the person driving the car deserves to die and that there are no other occupants.”
I hope the trooper who chose to shoot loses his job. There is no excuse for this.