TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) The Texas Municipal Police Association is calling for “calm” as questions mount about the death of a man who was shot by a Temple police officer.
Officer Carmen DeCruz remains on administrative leave after he shot and killed Michael Dean, 28, at around 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 2 in the area of Southeast H K Dodgen Loop and Little River Road on the south side of the city.
Temple police have remained tight-lipped about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, referring questions to the Texas Rangers, who are investigating.
“We absolutely understand what a loss of life in a police-civilian interaction means for everyone involved,” TMPA Executive Director Kevin Lawrence said in a statement.
“It is in that spirit that we ask for calm as this incident is thoroughly investigated by the independent Texas Rangers,” he said.
“In emotionally charged times, there is a demand for fast answers, but investigations take time. We ask everyone to allow the Texas Rangers to do their job and await their findings. The Rangers' investigation will produce the answers sought by all of those impacted."
Members of Dean’s family are demanding answers about the deadly shooting and the attorney who represents them, Lee Merritt of Houston, says Dean was unarmed and was shot in the head.
“We had an individual who was shot one time in the head, that doesn’t imply a scuffle that implies an execution. I don’t want to speculate…this family doesn’t want to speculate," Merritt said.
The controversy was further fueled by the release of a preliminary autopsy report that identified the manner of death as homicide, which some apparently concluded meant Dean was murdered.
Homicide, however, is a term applied in any case in which one person kills another, regardless of the circumstances.
“This is standard verbiage for any death in which an officer is involved and the deceased did not commit a suicide,” Lawrence said.
On Wednesday, Dean’s family and supporters marched from Temple City Hall to the Temple Police Department.
"We have been contacting the city to get information. The city has not given us any information," said Bennie Walsh, president of the Temple branch of NAACP.
Temple Mayor Tim Davis says he understands the frustration.
"I agree that city was slow in releasing information and I apologize for that," he said.
"What we want to make sure is the right, correct information get out. So, for anyone other than the Texas Rangers to release anything, in my opinion, would be incorrect," Davis said.