Officers involved in shooting cleared of wrongdoing by grand jur - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Officers involved in shooting cleared of wrongdoing by grand jury

(Source: KXXV) (Source: KXXV)
(Source: McLennan County Jail) (Source: McLennan County Jail)

A McLennan County Grand Jury has cleared all Waco officer involved in a shooting in April of any wrongdoing.

"The actions of a dangerous suspect caused our officers to have to use force to protect themselves and the public in this case," Chief Ryan Holt said. 

The shooting happened on Valley Mills Dr. in the street in front of the parking lot of the Las Vegas Buffet on April 10. 

Police said the suspect, Christopher Antwon Blackwell, robbed a convenience store on 26th and Colonial. The suspect was armed with a shotgun, and people at the scene called police.

According to Sgt Patrick Swanton of Waco Police Department, one of the police officers arrived to the scene and got behind the vehicle and became involved in a short pursuit as the suspect drove Westbound on Waco. As he turned, he became high-centered on the median on Waco Drive, the vehicle stalled officers tried to get out but the suspect was able to the maneuver vehicle back onto the road. 

The suspect continued down Waco Drive before turning West on Valley Mills where they lost control, crashing into a light pole. At that point officers conducted a high risk stop. Sgt Swanton said, officers knew the suspect was armed and posed a potential threat. Officers stayed behind covered while they tried to get the suspect to exit the car. 

Blackwell refused and grabbed the shotgun. According to police, he threatened and pointed the gun at them at that point officers fired a round of shots. 

Blackwell still refused to exit the vehicle, and told officers he had a pistol in the car. Officers retreated and officers with SWAT training were called to the scene. Non-lethal force was used to break out the windows of the car. A distraction device, a flash bang was thrown into the car. It emitted a bright light and loud sound, police also put a gas bomb to get Blackwell out of the car. 

Sgt. Swanton said Blackwell would not cooperate with officers but after a brief struggle they were able to get him away from the shotgun and into custody. 

He was taken to Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest for wounds to his lower left leg and left buttock. Blackwell is in McLennan County jail, he is charged with Aggravated Robbery, Evading in a Vehicle and Possession of a Firearm by a Felon. 

Early Tuesday Morning Texas Rangers and Waco Police Special Crimes Unit were still on scene conducting an investigation. It is standard procedure for the use of lethal force to face review. 

Sgt Patrick Swanton said that the situation while unfortunate, could have been much worse. Police were able to secure the busy intersection relatively quickly and none of the businesses were hurt. 

"We're very fortunate that it turned out the way it did tonight good training by the officers who were here good conduct by the part of the officers who were here unfortunately the suspect put us in a position where we had to react and the outcome turned out very good for our citizens no one else was injured."

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