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Teen Shot By Police Officer Worked To Build A Better Life, Friends Say

Funeral services were held Thursday for Jose Raul Cruz, the North Texas teen killed Sunday by an off-duty Farmers Branch police officer.  At Cruz's funeral, one man shared his story about the teen.

Family and friends of Jose Raul Cruz took one last drive with him on Thursday. A hearse carried his casket by his house and some of of his favorite places. 

Then, more than 1,000 people – many of them teens and young adults wearing red – streamed into the Hughes Family Tribute Center in northwest Dallas. They prayed and remembered the 16-year-old.

Julio Jimenez was among the mourners. He said he worked with Cruz at a Carrollton company that makes cleaning supplies. Jimenez was his supervisor.

He said Cruz stacked boxes and worked the overnight shift – staying until 3 a.m. He was young, but put in the long hours to support his family.

“He asked me to please change his schedule because he was going to school and getting out of work too late,” Jimenez said. 

Cruz eventually moved to the 2 to 11 p.m. shift. Jimenez said the teen was a good person and humble. He last saw Cruz Friday night as he was leaving work.

He said, “Don Julio, have a good weekend.”

“You too, mijo (my son),” Jimenenz said. “Take good care of yourself.”

Jimenez said Cruz had talked about trying to get a scholarship. He wanted to go to college in Austin and said he wanted a good future.

Instead, on Thursday, the teen was buried at Crown Hill Memorial Park.

Earlier story: Authorities say a North Texas police officer who was arrested in the killing of a teenager and wounding of another boy has posted bond and been released from jail.

Farmers Branch officer Ken Johnson posted $150,000 bond and left jail early Thursday, according to Dallas County sheriff's spokeswoman Melinda Urbina. 

Johnson, 35, was arrested Wednesday on charges of murder and aggravated assault in the shooting Sunday in Addison.

Officials say Johnson was off-duty when he saw a vehicle being burglarized at his apartment complex and gave chase when the suspects fled. He caught up to suspects' vehicle about a half-mile away, and an altercation ensued.

Authorities say Johnson shot and killed 16-year-old Jose Raul Cruz and wounded another juvenile, Edgar Rodriguez, who was hospitalized.

Johnson's attorney says the officer feared for his life.

Addison police Chief Paul Spencer said in a statement Wednesday that there was "probable cause" to arrest Johnson but that the investigation will likely take several more weeks.

Meanwhile, a funeral for Jose Cruz was held Thursday afternoon in Dallas. Mourners were encouraged to wear red. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.