AUSTIN (KXAN) - A Travis County grand jury on Friday declined to indict the Austin police officer involved in the shooting death of 20-year-old Byron Carter Jr.
Nathan Wagner, who was a 3 1/2-year veteran of the police department at the time of the late-night May 30 shooting, has been on administrative leave since the incident. The grand jury's decision means Wagner will face no criminal charges in the shooting.
Police Chief Art Acevedo said after the grand jury decision was announced that Wagner will not face discipline from the department and that he considers the case to be closed. The officer will return to patrol duty, the chief said.
The chief said that the officer's actions "objectively reasonable." He added that no suspect should run from an officer because "that kind of behavior sets in motion chain of events that can lead to deadly force."
Rosemary Lehmberg says the grand jury was able to listen to 30 witnesses and was given access to all the facts before making their decision.
"This grand jury worked very hard. They heard all the evidence and cross-examined witnesses," said Lehmberg.
Carter family attorney Adam Loewy said he was disappointed with the grand jury's decision and criticized Lehmberg and the department.
"This DA proves time and time again that she will not indict a police officer," said Loewy who went on to say Carter and the juvenile driver never committed any crime and were approached because of their color of skin.
In grand jury testimony, the driver of the car says he saw the men approach the car, but did not know they were police. He hit the gas when Carter urgently ordered him to "go."
Wagner fired five shots into the driver's side of the car when it accelerated towards his partner, knocking him to the ground.
Four of those shots hit Carter, including one in the head. The driver was hit once.
Lehmberg said the grand jury was made up of five African-Americans, three Asian-Americans and one white person.
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