HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston-area deputy accused of fatally shooting a man while confronting him after a shoplifting incident has been indicted by a grand jury for murder, officials announced Thursday.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Garrett Hardin has been charged in the July 2022 death of Roderick Brooks, 47, who was Black.
Hardin’s attorney, Justin Keiter, as well as lawyers for Brooks’ family did not immediately return emails seeking comment. Keiter had previously told KTRK that Hardin’s actions were legal and he would be exonerated.
Hardin confronted Brooks when he allegedly fled a north Houston Dollar Tree store after taking several items without paying for them, authorities said.
Body camera footage released by the sheriff’s office showed Hardin telling Brooks at a nearby gas station to stop and get on the ground or he would use a stun gun on Brooks. Hardin fired the stun gun and then knocked Brooks to the ground.
“Why are you tasing me?” Brooks asked Hardin before then telling him, “Please get off me man.”
On the video, Hardin could be seen pinning Brooks to the ground. Brooks tried to get up and then grabbed the stun gun, which had fallen to the ground.
“I’m gonna shoot you. Put that down,” Hardin could be heard saying on the video, which went black before Brooks was then seen with the stun gun in his right hand. Brooks then lost his grip on it.
It was not clear from the video if Brooks had the stun gun in his hand when he was fatally shot.
Hardin can then be heard on the video saying shots were fired and calling for medical help.
If convicted of murder, Hardin could be sentenced to up to life in prison, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, which presented the case before the grand jury.
“Now that an indictment has been handed down by the grand jury, the charges against Sgt. Hardin will proceed through the criminal court process like any other case,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
Hardin, who had been on administrative duty since the shooting, will be relieved of duty, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. An internal committee will review the case and recommend possible disciplinary action, the sheriff’s office said.
Brooks’ family in September 2022 filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Hardin. The lawsuit remains pending.