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Roy Oliver Testifies He Had No Option But To Shoot Into Car Carrying Jordan Edwards

Rose Baca
The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool
Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver, who is charged with the murder of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, pauses during his testimony with defense attorney Jim Lane during the sixth day of his trial at the Frank Crowley Courts Building in Dallas on Thursday.

Former Balch Springs police officer Roy Oliver took the stand Thursday, testifying he shot into a car full of teenagers last year because he thought his police partner’s life was in danger.

Oliver, 38, is facing a murder charge in the killing of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards after police broke up a house party in April 2017. Oliver, who is white, fired his gun into a moving car carrying five black teenagers while responding to a report of underage drinking at the party. 

His police partner, Tyler Gross, earlier testified he did not fear for his life and that he never felt the need to fire his weapon. Witnesses have testified they saw no justification for Oliver to open fire. A prosecutor has called Oliver "trigger happy." 

Oliver testified that while he was in the house, he heard gunshots outside, leading him to believe there was an active shooter. It was later determined that the shots were fired near a nursing home in the area.

Oliver testified that it was "very sickening" when he learned that he had killed Edwards. "I was in shock for days," he said.

Oliver also spent time on the stand talking about his childhood and his experience in the military — and his time as a police officer in Balch Springs. He was fired shortly after fatally shooting Edwards. He had been with the department since 2011.

The incident is one of several controversial police shootings of black men, teenagers and boys that have grabbed national headlines. But, as KERA reported, it’s rare that a case like this makes it to court.

The trial began Aug. 16. Closing arguments and jury deliberations will begin Monday; it’s unclear when the trial will conclude.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.