A Balch Springs police officer was fired for violating several department policies and procedures in the shooting death of a Texas teen. He was later arrested on a murder charge in the killing of Jordan Edwards, who was a passenger in a car that was driving away from a party. The former officer turned himself in at the Parker County Jail, posting his $300,000 bail that evening. If convicted of murder, he faces up to life in prison.
Roy Oliver, 37, was the second of two officers who responded to a report of a loud party with underage drinking in the Dallas suburb of Balch Springs. Oliver and the other officer went into the house to talk to the host of the party as teens scattered from the party. During this time, 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, his two older brothers and two 16 year old friends got into their car driven by his older brother Vidal.
As the officers were talking to the host they heard what sounded like gunshots and went outside. Both officers went outside to see what was going on and saw several people fleeing the party. The other officer, who has not been identified, walked toward the area where he thought the shots had been fired while Oliver went to the patrol car and got his rifle.
The second officer tried to stop a black Chevrolet Impala at the nearby intersection. The car slowly reversed, and the second officer pulled his gun and walked toward the passenger side of the car. As the car started to drive forward, the officer used his gun to break the rear passenger window. Oliver got behind the officer and fired several rounds into the car as it drove past him.
Jordan Edwards was shot in the head as he sat in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. Originally Balch Springs Police Chief Jonathan Haber said the officer fired after the car drove “aggressively” toward both officers but he later said he misspoke. Both officers were wearing body cameras and body camera footage showed the car was driving forward, away from the officers, not reversing toward them as he originally reported. The officer’s behavior “did not meet our core values,” Haber said.
Records reveal that Officer Roy Oliver, a 6 year veteran with the Balch Springs department was suspended in 2013 for sixteen hours and ordered to attend “anger management and training in courtroom demeanor and testimony.” That same year, according to his personnel files – he demonstrated a low score on “the extent to which this employee is able to communicate with the public as wells as other employees both verbally and in writing.”
Jordan Edwards was a freshman at Mesquite High School and a straight A student with a 4.0 GPA. He was a talented athlete who played quarterback and receiver on the football team. He lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in Balch Springs with his parents, two older brothers and younger sister.
Those who knew him say he was the last person you’d expect to die in a police shooting. His family, teachers and coaches described him as a happy, hardworking and respectful teen that was always in a good mood. His father Odell, said that his son Vidal, continued driving away so that no one else would be shot. He stopped the car two blocks from the party and called his father while his two friends in the back seat called their parents. “All I could hear was screaming and crying and the boys saying that police had just shot and killed Jordan. I could hardly make sense of it all” said Odell Edwards. Then the phone went dead. At that point, police had swarmed the car and forced all of the boys out at gunpoint.