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Grand jury clears officers in PA officer-involved shooting

JEFFERSON COUNTY - KFDM News has learned the Jefferson County grand jury has cleared Port Arthur police following an officer-involved shooting in March that left a man dead.

Chief Mark Blanton tells KFDM News he received word Thursday of the grand jury's decision in the March 27 shooting case. He says he knew his officers followed the law and police procedure in their handling of the case and the grand jury decision backs that up.

Witnesses and police told KFDM that Officer Herschel Whiting had no choice but to shoot Eduardo Rodriguez, 19.

Investigators say Rodriguez forced his way into a man's truck and tried to get away.

Officers tried to get the suspect out of the truck but he crossed over and tried to press the accelerator.

Police say Rodriguez became involved in a scuffle with Ofc. Kasey Frank.

Rodriguez tried to reach for Frank's gun. That's when Ofc. Whiting used a Taser on him.

Rodriguez continued reaching for her gun and got it. He aimed at her. That's when Whiting shot and killed him.

Investigators say an autopsy shows Rodriguez had taken a controlled substance prior to his death.

Witnesses told police, Officer Frank was lucky to be alive.

Chief Blanton returned Frank to full duty Thursday. Whiting is in the training division until further notice. Whiting has been with the department nearly a quarter century. Franks has been an officer for several years.

 

(March 27 reports) PORT ARTHUR-By: Leslie Rangel

One man is dead and two Port Arthur officers on administrative leave after they shot and killed a man suspected of a carjacking.

Eduardo Rodriguez, 19 of Port Arthur was shot and killed by officer Herschel Whiting. Whiting has been with the department for 24 years.

Witnesses and police say the officer had no choice but to shoot him.

Thursday afternoon, officers responded to a carjacking at 1500 Peek Avenue in Port Arthur.

When they arrived the suspect had forced his way into a man's truck and tried to flee.

Officers tried to get the suspect out of the truck, that's when he crossed over and tried to press the accelerator.

Police say a scuffle between Rodriguez and officer Kasey Frank began. Rodriguez tried to reach for Frank's gun, that's when Ofc. Whiting tazed him.

Rodriguez continued for the gun even after being tazed, took hold of the Frank's weapon and aimed at her. That's when Whiting shot and killed him.

Witnesses told police, Officer Frank was lucky to be alive.

Both officers have been with the department for more than a couple of years.

Frank and Whiting are on administrative leave as part of department protocol.

They will be evaluated by psychologists and will return to work when investigations are complete.




UPDATE: KFDM News has learned that the suspect in the Port Arthur officer involved shooting has been identified as 19-yr old Eduardo Rodriguez.

Authorities say the two officers involved were Officer Hershel Whiting, 24 years with PAPD and Officer Kacey Frank, 5 years.

PORT ARTHUR - Port Arthur Police are investigating an officer-involved shooting in which an officer shot and killed a suspect after a struggle during which the suspect took another officer's gun, according to information Chief Mark Blanton provided to KFDM News.

Watch KFDM News and stay with kfdm.com for updates.

The chief says he's been told there was a traffic accident and a driver left the scene in a vehicle that was reported stolen. An officer became involved in a struggle with the suspect at about 2 p.m. Thursday on Peek Avenue off Gulfway, and Chief Blanton says he's been told the suspect took the officer's gun. Another officer shot the suspect, who died at the scene. No officers were hurt.

Additional information released about occupants of other vehicle involved in crash on FM 418
Additional information has been released about the occupants of the other vehicle that was involved in the crash on FM 418.

The driver of the Dodge truck, 48-year-old Michael Thompson of Buna, was transported by ambulance with serious injuries. The passengers, 40-year-old Jennifer Thompson of Buna, 20-year-old Ashley Chapman of Buna and 18-year-old Erica Gilchrist of Buna were all transported by ambulance with serious injuries, Trooper Stephanie Davis stated. All occupants were transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital. 

Due to restrictions on the release of patient information, Davis said she was not able to obtain the medical status, except for the fact that Michael Thompson was moved to a regular hospital room on Monday.

Troopers are continuing to investigate the crash and obtain updates on the medical condition of the surviving occupants.

Shooting reported on Sweetgum Lane
BEAUMONT - A man claims he was robbed early this morning at 3 a.m. and said someone took his backpack. He did not call police at the time of the alleged robbery. He went to the 2500 block of Sweetgum Lane in Beaumont to find his backpack.

While he was there, there was reportedly an argument and the man says he received a gunshot that slightly grazed his back. Police say he would not cooperate and refused to show them the wound. Police say the the man is homeless and has a criminal background.

No shooter was identified. The man was arrested and went to jail for various outstanding warrants.

Missing woman found

UPDATE: Anna Sanchez has been located in Beaumont, according to Sgt. Rob Flores.



BEAUMONT - Beaumont police are searching for a missing woman and investigators say they have concerns about her safety.

Beaumont patrol officers have been searching for Anna Rosa Sanchez, 25.

Police say Anna, who suffers from schizophrenia, ran away from Baptist Hospital while she was receiving an MRI prior to being admitted into the hospital. She is in need of medicine for her illness and is suicidal.

Baptist personnel last saw Anna at about 2:00 p.m. Wednesday. She is described as a Hispanic female, about 5'00" tall, weighing between 140-150 pounds, with long black hair. She was last seen wearing a multi-colored shirt and black pants. She lives in Port Arthur but officers believe she may still be in Beaumont.

Police consider Anna to be an endangered missing person and ask that any person who may see her or who knows her whereabouts phone the BPD non-emergency number at 832-1234.

 

 

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