BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- Juan Delacruz, the Baytown police officer who opened fire on a Black woman in emotional distress last year, is out on bail after turning himself in on a felony count in the case.
Delacruz was indicted by a grand jury on Monday for the May 2019 shooting death of Pamela Turner. The officer turned himself in on Tuesday morning and then posted $25,000 bail.
The officer is slated for a Oct. 28 court date for the charge of aggravated assault by a public servant. If convicted, Delacruz faces a punishment of five years to life in prison.
On Wednesday, Eyewitness News obtained Delacruz's booking photo.
According to police, Turner was killed when Delacruz approached her at an apartment complex on Garth Road where they both resided. At the time, Delacruz made contact with Turner and tried to arrest her, but she struggled with him, forcing him to use his Taser on her. As he tried to handcuff her, she grabbed his Taser and used it on him, police alleged.
Delacruz pulled out his gun and fired at Turner multiple times, killing her.
Police insisted the shooting was justified, but her death was the subject of calls against police brutality toward people of color.
"Pam Turner's killing was a tragedy; it is important to acknowledge that her family and the community are in pain," said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. "Every aspect of the case was independently investigated by the Texas Rangers and our Civil Rights Division prosecutors. Ultimately, we presented all of the evidence to a grand jury that determined the Baytown Police officer should be charged with a crime for his actions when he shot Ms. Turner. We respect their decision and we will be moving forward with prosecution."
Neighbors who still reside in the Brixton apartment complex say the charge against Delacruz was long overdue.
"He should have been charged immediately," said one woman who knew Turner well.
Baytown police gave their response after Delacruz's indictment, explaining they turned over the investigation to the Texas Rangers, who then submitted their findings to the district attorney's office.
"We have faith and trust in our judicial system, and as we wait for this case to proceed through the legal process, we ask that our community continue to be patient and have trust and faith in those processes. We also ask that our community continue to have faith and trust in the Baytown Police Department and the dedicated, professional men and women who are committed to serving all members of our community with integrity, compassion and professionalism," police said in a statement.
On Thursday, civil rights and personal injury attorney Benjamin Crump addressed the indictment, speaking with Turner's family via a Zoom press conference.
Crump is also working with the family of Breonna Taylor, who was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.
Earlier this week, the Mayor announced that the city has agreed to pay $12 million to her family and reform police practices.
The officers involved in Taylor's shooting have not been charged.
"The indictment of the officer in the Pamela Turner case and the settlement in the Breonna Taylor case are both crucial steps in bringing much-needed and past-due attention on the treatment of Black women in this country," Crump said.
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