HOUSTON, Tx - Houston police officer Juventino Castro has been cleared by a Harris County grand jury today in the fatal shooting death of 26-year-old Jordan Baker in January.
The grand jury spent months reviewing details of the shooting that happened back in January when Castro was working a side job patrolling a shopping center.
According to HPD, the area had fallen victim to a string of robberies and when officer Castro spotted Baker in the parking lot he believed he was a possible suspect.
A struggle ensued and when the dust settled, Baker was dead, shot once by Castro.
The 26-year old was not armed.
Since the incident, Baker has been cleared of having anything to do with, or knowing anything about those robberies.
Janet Baker, Jordan's mother, has been outspoken about the incident and was not pleased with the decision, "I'm not surprised and accept the disappointment. Justice delayed is not justice denied and I do believe that god will get the victory in this situation."
Castro, who has been on the force for more than a decade claimed Baker reached for his waist band and charged him. Those details may have been just what the grand jury needed to keep Castro out of a courtroom.
Julian Ramirez, the chief prosecutor, says, "We didn't just take officer Castro's word for it...the fact of the matter of the matter was we didn't have any other witnesses to the shooting that took place in the dark alley. The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Mr. Baker's body told us the gunshot wound was consistent with the officer's version of the shooting."
Harris County District Attorney’s Office issued a press release regarding the grand jury decision:
“We respect the grand jury’s decision in this case. This is certainly a tragic and unfortunate incident for the officer involved and the family of Jordan Baker. We will continue to evaluate our policies and training in an attempt to prevent these types of incidents in the future. We are in the process of developing a new foot pursuit policy designed to protect officers and the citizens they encounter. We place the highest priority on human life and we encourage anyone that has interactions with police to follow and obey the commands and instructions of officers. There is always a proper place and time to contest your arrest or file a police complaint. I have forwarded this investigation to the local office of the FBI for its review to ensure there are no civil rights violations.”