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| Crime |

Dallas DA Will Seek Death Penalty in Home Depot Cop Shooting Case

Police searched along White Rock Creek near Central Expressway last month for the person who shot and critically wounded two Dallas police officers and a civilian at a nearby Home Depot.EXPAND
Police searched along White Rock Creek near Central Expressway last month for the person who shot and critically wounded two Dallas police officers and a civilian at a nearby Home Depot.
Brian Maschino
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A Dallas County grand jury has indicted Armando Juarez, the man suspected of killing Dallas police Officer Rogelio Santander, on a bevy of felony charges related to the shooting of Santander; Santander's partner, Crystal Almeida; and Home Depot loss prevention officer Scott Painter on April 24. Dallas County will seek the death penalty for Juarez, District Attorney Faith Johnson said Tuesday afternoon.

"After thoroughly reviewing the evidence and careful consideration, I have decided I will seek the death penalty against Armando Juarez for the capital murder of Officer Rogelio Santander," Johnson said. "I want to thank the grand jury for their service and the entire Dallas Police Department for the hard work and dedication that they have put into this investigation, as well as the members of my staff who have also worked tirelessly to prepare for the grand jury."

The grand jury indicted Juarez on five felony charges — capital murder of a peace officer, attempted murder of peace officer, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a public servant and another count of aggravated assault.

Both aggravated assault against a public servant charges stem from the chase on which Juarez led police after the shooting, Johnson said Tuesday.

"We considered not only the offense itself. We considered his history. We considered everything [that led up to the shooting]," Johnson said about her decision to ask that Juarez be put to death.

Santander and Almeida responded to a call for backup from an off-duty officer at the Home Depot just after 4 p.m. April 24. As Santander and Almeida attempted to arrest Juarez, police allege, he shot the two officers and Painter. The off-duty cop was not harmed. Santander died the next day. Both Almeida and Painter have recovered from their injuries well enough to be released from the hospital.

Paramedics rushed the three victims to Texas Health Presbyterian, but Juarez got away from the scene in a white Ford F-150. About five hours later, police arrested Juarez after a brief chase near Love Field. He's been in Dallas County jail ever since.

Johnson estimated Tuesday that it could be two years before Juarez came to trial. At that point, it could be up to John Creuzot, Johnson's Democratic opponent in November's election, to try the case.

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