SCHERTZ, Texas (AP) — Four Texas sheriff’s deputies won’t face charges for opening fire on a suspected car thief, killing her and a 6-year-old who they didn’t know was nearby, a grand jury decided this week.
A Bexar County grand jury declined to indict the deputies more than a year after they shot at Amanda Jones, 30, on the porch of a mobile home in the San Antonio suburb of Schertz. The deputies were pursuing Jones for car theft and other offenses on Dec. 21, 2017, when she forced her way onto the trailer and threatened to shoot them, said Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.
The deputies didn’t know that the 1st-grader, Kameron Prescott, was inside the trailer after starting his winter break just hours before the shooting, Salazar said.
The boy was struck in the torso by a stray bullet that pierced one of the trailer’s walls. Salazar called it “a tragic accident.”
Jones had no apparent connection to Kameron or his family, according to officials.
The grand jury’s finding cleared deputies John Aguillon, George Herrera, Jesse Arias, and Reserve Deputy Johnny Longoria of having to face charges. But the decision was met by mixed reactions, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Stephen Prescott, who is Kameron’s grandfather and a San Antonio police officer, said he was upset, but he declined to comment further. Kameron’s mother, Rubi Marie Prescott, declined to comment.
Kameron’s family had been outspoken after the shooting. His great-aunt, Debra Jimenez, criticized the deputies for opening fire when so many people were nearby and called for new training.
Less than a month later, Salazar announced he would increase deputies’ required in-service training hours from 24 to 40 hours annually.
Some neighbors in the Pecan Grove mobile home park expressed uncertainty over whether the deputies should have opened fire.
Russell White, who lives across the street from Kameron’s home, watched the shooting from his window.
“I feel like you’re not supposed to shoot in that scenario,” White said. “I don’t know.”
Shawna Keller, a neighbor, said the deputies were trying to protect the neighborhood, but that her heart breaks for Kameron.
“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “My heart also goes out to police. They’re just trying to do their job. You know they didn’t want to shoot a 6-year-old boy.”