Nederland officer who killed man in line of duty cleared of any wrongdoing, chief says
NEDERLAND — A Nederland Police Department officer who shot and killed a suspect in the line of duty has been cleared of any wrongdoing and is back on the job.
Police Chief Gary Porter said a Texas Ranger investigation was completed last month and presented to a Jefferson County grand jury, which decided against pursuing charges against the officer.
“I fully expected it, but you’re always relieved if you have something like this happen,” Porter said. “This is the first time we have had something like this happen here. I hope it is the last time. We were relieved to get done with the criminal investigation portion of this.”
The shooting led to officer Tanner Thompson being placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Porter said Thompson returned to active duty following the grand jury ruling.
An initial Texas Ranger report said at approximately 10 p.m. Nov. 10, a female in the 2200 block of Sixth Street in Port Neches called 9-1-1 to report a disturbance that involved a weapon. The female told call-takers a male, with whom she was in an argument, left the residence with a handgun.
The female gave dispatchers a description of the man with the gun, which was relayed to responding officers.
Soon after, Thompson — a uniformed Nederland police officer — observed a person matching the given description on Carriage Lane and told him to stop.
Authorities said the male, later identified as 29-year-old Daron Jones, refused and fled on foot.
After being told repeatedly to stop during his flight, Jones displayed a weapon and was shot by the officer, Texas Rangers indicated, adding the Nederland police officer immediately began life-saving efforts as he awaited the arrival of an ambulance.
The suspect, Jones of Port Arthur, was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.
The Sixth Street residence, where the disturbance was reported, in Port Neches is two blocks outside of Nederland city limits.
Porter said the chase and shooting was a one-on-one encounter, though officers from Nederland and Port Neches were all over the area searching for the suspect.
This marks the first officer-involved shooting fatality in Nederland Police Department history, authorities said.
“I think the Ranger’s office handled the investigation very professionally and very thoroughly and I was very pleased with that,” Porter said. “They were assisted by the D.A.’s office and Jefferson County Crime Lab and they did a thorough investigation.”
Nederland City Manager Chris Duque said it’s unfortunate and tragic anytime a community deals with the loss of a life.
“Our police officer was put into a situation where he had to carry out his responsibility and duties as a law enforcement officer,” Duque said.
Preliminary autopsy findings indicate four projectiles were recovered from Jones’ body and two projectiles were recovered during processing.
Jones suffered perforation of the trachea, spleen, lungs and thoracic spinal cord, as well as blunt force injuries to the head.
An electro-muscular disruption device probe was recovered from Jones’ right buttock, the autopsy detailed, indicating a Taser was used during the fatal altercation.
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