On the same day it was announced a Gregg County grand jury found officers justified in fatally shooting an 18-year-old Longview man in early August, Longview police released video that showed the man raising a handgun toward officers before being shot.
The body camera footage later shows the officers and others bandaging and applying pressure to the man’s wounds and encouraging him to keep breathing as they wait for paramedics to arrive.
Officers Jason Kelley and John Collier were absolved in the Aug. 7 shooting death of Detravian Allison, District Attorney Tom Watson said Wednesday.
“The grand jury declined to bring any charges against either officer, and they are cleared of any wrongdoing in the case,” he said in a statement.
It was one of two recent shooting incidents in which Longview officers were found to be justified in their use of deadly force.
In the other, officers Doug Brinkley, Armondo Juarezortega, Jonathan Wolf and Kerry Higginbotham were cleared in the July 28 shooting of Kenneth Earl Thomas Jr., a suspect in a murder. He suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was shot by police at Broughton Park.
Allison was killed after officers encountered him in a stolen vehicle at Longview Square Apartments on Pine Tree Road. The vehicle had been reported stolen in a carjacking the previous week.
In body camera video from the scene released Wednesday to the News-Journal, Allison is seen apparently exiting the vehicle and turning toward officers.
“Get on the ground, now!,” Kelley is heard saying. Instead, Allison raises a handgun and points it toward him. Four shots can be heard in the video, which was requested under the Texas Public Information Act the day after the incident.
After he’s shot, Allison can be seen falling onto a grassy median in the apartment complex’s parking area.
Police and the Texas Department of Public Safety initially declined to release the videos and related public records as required under the law, responding to the News-Journal’s request by asking the state attorney general for permission to withhold the information under exceptions to state law.
In mid-September, the attorney general’s office sided with law enforcement, citing an exception for ongoing investigations.
Because of their graphic nature, the News-Journal is not publishing the videos, two of which are from the officers’ body cameras. A third video is from a patrol car’s dash cam.
Watson said both cases were heard Thursday by a grand jury. In a statement, he said this about the Allison case, which was investigated by Texas Ranger Joshua Jenkins:
“During the initial encounter, officers observed two subjects inside the stolen vehicle. The passenger exited the vehicle and fled on foot. Subsequently, Allison exited the driver’s side of the vehicle and produced a handgun. Allison raised the handgun and pointed it directly at Officer Kelley. As a result of this immediate threat on Officer Kelley’s life, both officers opened fire and Allison was struck four times.
“Immediately after the shooting, the officers restrained Allison and began providing first aid to Allison until EMS arrived. Allison was transported to the hospital by ambulance where he later died.”
Regarding the shooting of Thomas, Watson issued this statement:
“Thomas was a suspect in the murder of Kimberly Wallace, and the Longview police officers were actively searching for Thomas at the time of the shooting.
“Texas Ranger Chris Baggett was contacted, and he conducted a thorough investigation into the incident. Ranger Baggett’s findings were delivered to the office of the Gregg County District Attorney, which in turn presented the case to the grand jury on Sept. 26.
“Ranger Baggett’s investigation revealed that the Longview officers encountered Thomas in Broughton Park, and Thomas opened fire upon the officers. Thomas fled from the officers, and a running gun fight ensued resulting in Thomas being struck in the buttocks area. The Longview Officers were able to take Thomas into custody and apply first aid to Thomas’ injuries until EMS arrived. Thomas was transported to the hospital where he was treated for the non-life threatening injuries. Thomas is currently being held in the Gregg County Jail.”
According to jail records, he is being held under $5 million bond while awaiting trial.