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Cop Convicted Of Murder For Killing Teen Trying To Steal His Car – Was The Jury Right Or Ridiculous?

Teens try to steal a car.  Off-duty cop tries to stop them.  One teen is shot and killed.  The cop is convicted of murder.  Is it as cut and dry as that?

Ken Johnson, 37, was off-duty at his apartment complex when he saw two 16-year olds trying to steal his SUV in broad daylight.  His attempt to stop them included following them in his SUV when they took off in another car, ramming them off the road, and then shooting at the teens.

At issue is the fact that Johnson not only shot at the car but opened the driver’s side door and shot at the teens inside.

The teens were unarmed.

Johnson was convicted of murder for the death of one teen and felony aggravated assault with a weapon for seriously wounding another.

Prosecutor, Jason Hermus called it a ‘roadside execution’.

Johnson, who had been free on bond, was taken into custody after the verdict was read.  He faces up to life in prison, and court records show he plans to ask for probation. The sentencing trial will begin Jan. 8.

Johnson was off duty and in plain clothes on March 13, 2016, when he saw two teenagers breaking into the Chevrolet Tahoe at his Farmers Branch apartment complex.

Here are some photos captured by a bystander:

The Dallas Morning News reports:

He rammed their car off the road at Spring Valley Road and Marsh Lane, hopped out of his Tahoe as it rolled into oncoming traffic and shot 16 times into the teens’ car.

Jose Cruz, 16, was struck in the head and died at the scene.

Edgar Rodriguez, who was also 16 at the time, was wounded in the head but survived. He also lost a finger, and his ear had to be reconstructed.

One bullet lodged in Rodriguez’s cellphone, which he thinks saved his life.

The police department says that Johnson violated the department policies on off-duty behavior when he chased the teens and rammed them with his personal vehicle:

Rodriguez testified at the beginning of the nearly six-day trial. He admitted to stealing third-row seats from Johnson’s Tahoe and said the teens hadn’t known Johnson was following them until he rammed Cruz’s Dodge Challenger.

Johnson was serving as the courtesy officer at his apartment complex when he saw Rodriguez breaking into his Tahoe. He told investigators that Cruz’s red Challenger matched the description of a car connected to several other burglaries. Rogers said it was “instinct” that pushed Johnson to pursue the teens while off duty.

Source:  Dallas Morning News 

Johnson grabbed his gun, but not his badge or cellphone when he decided to stop the teens.

What do you think?

Was Ken Johnson right to pursue and shoot the aspiring to be car thieves?

Or was he wrong to shoot at unarmed teens at point-blank range?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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