Former Balch Springs, Texas police officer Roy Oliver took the stand on Thursday in his trial where he faces a murder charge for the death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Oliver shot and killed Edwards while the car the teen was in left a party on April 29, 2017.
Oliver gave his account of what happened that night, saying he Officer Tyler Gross had responded to a call regarding a drunk juveniles. When they arrived, they saw teens leaving a house party, Oliver said, noting that it was a particularly large crowd of people compared to the size of the house.
Oliver told the court that he conducted a “quick officer safety check of the house” to make sure no hidden alcohol or intoxicated juveniles. When he finished and joined up with Officer Gross, he heard gunshots that sounded like a semi-automatic or multiple semi-automatic weapons going off. From the sound, he thought there was an active shooter. He said he radioed “shots fired,” as he saw people running and screaming away from the sound of the shots.
Oliver said he went to his car to grab a rifle, because he didn’t think the pistol he had on him would be effective in that situation. He said he followed Gross, who was walking toward a car, yelling. Based on the volume of Gross’ voice and the nature of what he was saying–including “stop the f’ing car,”, Oliver felt there was a something going on with this car that required assistance. He said it seemed like a “high-stress situation.” He thought the shots had been coming from the car, and then she saw the car backing up, going uphill. He said Gross was yelling at them to stop, but they kept moving.
Gross then pulled out his weapon, pointing it at the car, Oliver said. At some point, the car stopped, but then it suddenly started again, and Oliver feared that it was going to hit his partner. That’s when he fired his weapon, ultimately killing Edwards, who was inside. Oliver stated he used deadly force because as far as he was concerned, Gross’ life was in danger. He claimed that he felt the effects of his actions well after the incident was over.
“I was in shock,” Oliver said. “I was in shock for days.”
Gross, meanwhile, had a different story when he testified earlier in the trial. He said that he did not fear for his life. Video of the incident also showed the car driving away from officers, not towards them, and court documents alleged that Oliver “flipped off” the car after the shooting.