Murder Warrant Issued for Balch Springs Officer in Jordan Edwards' Shooting

Mourners attend a vigil for Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old Mesquite high school student killed by a Balch Springs police officer last Saturday night.
Mourners attend a vigil for Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old Mesquite high school student killed by a Balch Springs police officer last Saturday night. Hannah Ridings
Update May 8: Oliver turned himself into Parker County Jail Friday night. Edwards' father, Odell, filed a federal excessive force lawsuit against Oliver and the Balch Springs Police Department Friday.

Roy Oliver, a six-year veteran Balch Springs police officer who shot and killed 15-year-old Mesquite high school freshman Jordan Edwards on Saturday, has been charged with murder, according to news reports.

The Dallas County Sheriff's Department issued an arrest warrant for Oliver late Friday after a judge signed a murder warrant that set bond at $300,000. Oliver has not been arrested and could turn himself into authorities, The Dallas Morning News reports.

"The time is now here when the people of Dallas can actually see what happens when we stop begging for justice and demand it," the Reverend Jeff Hood told the Observer Friday evening. Hood works in partnership with Dominique Alexander, founder of the Next Generation Action Network, an anti-police violence group. Both men met with Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson earlier this week to demand that Oliver face murder charges instead of manslaughter.

"I have no doubt that the possibility of widespread protests and direct action influenced local authorities to correctly charge Officer Oliver with murder," Hood said.

After a 911 call reported drunk teenagers at a party on Saturday, Oliver arrived to break up the gathering on Baron Drive. He was the second officer on the scene. Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said Oliver reported hearing gunshots outside. He ran out of the house and ordered the car in which Edwards was riding to stop. The car didn't stop, so Oliver shot at the car with a rifle, striking Edwards in the head and killing him.

Initial reports claimed that the car Edwards was riding in was backing toward officers, Instead, Haber said later, the car was driving away from Oliver, with Edwards sitting in the front passenger seat.  Haber fired Oliver earlier this week.

The arrest warrant follows a vigil Thursday evening attended by about 300 people at Virgil T. Irwin Park in Balch Springs.

Throughout the night, men, women and children cried quietly as guest speakers shared thoughts and prayers.
click to enlarge The candlelight vigil for Edwards included speakers of various faiths. - HANNAH RIDINGS
The candlelight vigil for Edwards included speakers of various faiths.
Hannah Ridings
“My big motivator here was to bring the community together,” said Eric Ramsey, a University of Dallas student and organizer of the event from In Solidarity, a non-governmental organization.

Faith leaders of Islam, Christianity and Judaism spoke. Women wore hijab, white men wore "Black Lives Matter" shirts and community members from across Dallas Forth Worth all attended the vigil.

“Our souls have cried out, ‘How long must we have to deal with police brutality?’” said the Reverend Michael W. Waters, a pastor from Dallas. “We’re here each and every day to ensure that his living and his death were not in vain.”

The gathering was peaceful in accordance with the Edwards’ family’s wishes, but the topics of the night were both Jordan and police brutality.

“How many mothers and fathers are going to have to miss their children before law enforcement is held accountable?” asked Dr. Irie Session, a former pastor of the Edwards family. “It will not stop until we live like every Jordan is our child. Not until every Jordan belongs to us.”

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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.