Ex-cop charged in death of unarmed Central Texas man released on bond

Temple police officer Carmen DeCruz, 52, was charged with manslaughter Monday. (Jail photo)
Temple police officer Carmen DeCruz, 52, was charged with manslaughter Monday. (Jail photo)(KWTX)
Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 2:52 PM CDT
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Ex-Temple police Officer Carmen DeCruz, 52, has bonded out of the Bell County Jail after his bond was reduced.

DeCruz’s bond was reduced Friday from $500,000 to $80,000.

He was released later the same day.

Decruz was indicted for manslaughter in the shooting death of Michael Dean, 28, of Temple following an attempted traffic stop that led to a pursuit on Dec. 2, 2019.

DeCruz was arrested on Feb. 10.

He has resigned from the department.

DeCruz attempted to pull Dean over for speeding on Dec. 2, but Dean did not immediately stop and the officer gave chase, an arrest warrant affidavit released Monday says.

Dean stopped at the intersection of Little River Road and Loop 363, DeCruz pulled around the vehicle to block it in and got out of his patrol unit, the affidavit says.

Video from the officer’s body camera showed that DeCruz approached Dean’s vehicle with his handgun drawn, the affidavit says.

He ordered Dean to turn off the vehicle and hand him the keys.

“Officer DeCruz had the handgun pointed at Dean with his finger on the trigger,” the affidavit says.

“Officer DeCruz is seen reaching into Dean’s vehicle in an attempt to gain control of the keys to the vehicle with his left hand while holding his duty issued firearm, a handgun, in his right hand,” the affidavit said.

As Decruz pulled on the keys with his left, hand, the affidavit says, “his right hand also pulls backwards causing the handgun to fire striking Michael Dean in the head.”

DeCruz was “running radar” in the area of Blackland Road in Temple when he spotted the gray PT Cruiser Dean was driving speeding and attempted to pull Dean over, the report says.

Dean, the report says, “refused to stop for the officer and a short pursuit ensued.”

A brief report filed with the Texas Attorney General’s Office in late December confirmed Dean was unarmed.

The Peace Officer Involved Injuries or Death Report submitted by Temple Police Investigations Sgt. Robert Mallett says Dean “Did not carry, exhibit or use a deadly weapon” and says the shooting occurred as a result of a “Traffic Stop/Evading.”