Killeen: Moratorium on no-knock warrants ends

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 7:20 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 1:26 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) – A temporary 90-day hold on the use of no-knock warrants ordered in June in Killeen has ended after a committee comprised of officers “and a diverse group of Killeen citizens” reviewed the department’s policy, police said.

“Our goal and our mission at the Killeen Police Department is to reduce crime, to reduce the fear of crime, and to enhance public safety. In order to do our jobs efficiently and as safe as possible for everyone, we may sometimes have to conduct a no-knock search warrant. However, before that takes place, we want you, the community, to understand that there are updated procedures that are followed,” police Chief Charles Kimble said in a press release Monday.

Investigators seeking no-knock warrants must seek Kimble’s approval before presenting an affidavit for a no-knock warrant to a judge, Kimble said in a letter to the committee and the community Monday.

No-knock warrants won’t be served in cases involving only narcotics, but will be used “on murder suspects, certain hostage situations, violent and dangerous offenders and any exigent circumstances that meet the warrant criteria.”

Since Jan. 1, six no-knock warrants have been approved among 23 total search warrants, and only four of them were served, Kimble said in the letter.

Since 2013, one Killeen officer has been killed during service of no-knock warrants, at least five injured, and one was indicted for inappropriate conduct in a no-knock raid during which a suspect died.

Detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie, an 18-year veteran of the Killeen police force and SWAT team leader, was shot May 9, 2014 while he and other SWAT officers were attempting to serve a “no-knock” search warrant on the home of Marvin Louis Guy at 1104 Circle M Dr. Apt. C.

He died two days later.

Officer Odis Denton, a 9-year veteran of the department, was shot in the thigh and underwent surgery at Scott & White Medical Center.

Officers David Daniels and Xavier Clark also were shot but avoided injury because of their ballistic vests.

Guy has been held in the Bell County Jail since May 10, 2014 and is still awaiting trial.

His bonds total $4 million.

Dinwiddie was only the second Killeen officer to die in the line of duty.

The first was Officer Robert “Bobby” Layden Hornsby, 32.

He was shot and killed on July 14, 2013 during a standoff at an apartment complex when Pfc. Dustin Billy Cole, 24, of Oklahoma, opened fire on police with an AK-47.

Officer Juan E. Obregon, 33, was critically wounded but survived.

Killeen SWAT officers shot and killed Cole at the scene.

In June 2019 a Bell County grand jury indicted former Killeen police Officer Anthony Custance in connection with a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred while police were serving a no-knock warrant.

On Feb. 27, 2019, the police served a search warrant at 215 West Hallmark Ave. in Killeen and during the operation, James Reed was killed.

After the shooting, the Texas Rangers began investigating the incident and their effort revealed bullets were fired into the back of the home and although they did not hit anyone, the actions were not in compliance with the planned operation and that it was Custance, a member of the Killeen Police Department Tactical Response Unit, who fired the shots.

He resigned from the department after the shooting.

During the investigation Custance “intentionally or knowingly concealed a rifle magazine with missing rounds with the intent to impair its availability,” the indictment alleged.

The indictment said Custance handed over a 30-round capacity rifle magazine with 28 rounds in it, knowing that it was false and with the intent to affect the course of the investigation.

Custance, pleaded guilty on Sept. 27, 2019 to tampering with evidence after he was accused of concealing or reloading a rifle magazine following the deadly no-knock raid and was sentenced to six years of deferred adjudication probation.

If he successfully completes the term, the conviction won’t appear on his record.

He was also required to surrender his law enforcement license.

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