Death penalty sought against man in Dallas officer's slaying
Armando Luis Juarez is charged in the shooting that killed Officer Rogelio Santander and critically injured Officer Crystal Almeida and a loss-prevention officer
By Tasha Tsiaperas
The Dallas Morning News
DALLAS — The Dallas County district attorney is seeking the death penalty for the man accused of killing a Dallas police officer and wounding his partner and a Home Depot loss prevention officer.
Armando Luis Juarez, 30, was indicted on five felony charges in the April 24 shooting: one count of capital murder, one count of attempted capital murder, one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on a public servant.
District Attorney Faith Johnson said Tuesday she "carefully considered" the evidence in the case before deciding her office will seek capital punishment.
She said they looked at "not only the offense itself."
"We considered the circumstances. We considered everything that took place leading up" to the shooting, Johnson said.
Juarez's criminal record doesn't show any violent offenses before April 24, when police say he pulled a gun on the two officers and a loss-prevention officer. He also fired at two other officers during the five-hour manhunt after the Home Depot shooting, authorities say.
Officers Rogelio Santander and Crystal Almeida responded to a shoplifting call at the Home Depot near U.S. Highway 75 and Forest Lane. The loss-prevention officer, Scott Painter, saw Juarez behaving suspiciously and possibly trying to steal something.
A Dallas officer working an off-duty job at the store detained Juarez for an outstanding warrant. While the off-duty officer was double-checking the warrant, Juarez pulled a gun and shot Santander, Almeida and Painter, police records show.
Santander, 27, died the next day. Almeida, 26, was released from the hospital this weekend. Painter was released last week.
Almeida was shot in the face, and Painter was shot three times. Juarez fled but was later spotted in southeast Dallas.
When two officers in a police cruiser started following Juarez's vehicle on the highway, he fired a handgun several times at them, they said.
The car chase ended in a neighborhood near Love Field.
Juarez threw his handgun out of his vehicle, and officers found a box of ammunition and several shell casings inside the car, police records show.
Though Juarez had no violent criminal history, he had been arrested twice in the five months before the fatal shooting: once in December on a felony theft charge and again in January on an unlawful use of a motor vehicle charge.
He has also pleaded guilty in the past to attempted possession of a controlled substance.
After Juarez was arrested, police added two felony charges of forgery of a financial instrument stemming from a December incident. He was also indicted on those charges Tuesday.
The day after the shooting, investigators connected Juarez to forged checks he cashed in December, police records show.
Juarez cashed an $845.50 check that was made out to him. The check was from a stolen checkbook and was signed with "an illegible ink signature," according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
He also cashed a second check that day for $830.50, police records show.
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