The attorney representing the family of the 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by a San Antonio cop earlier this month wants the officer to be arrested and indicted for murder.
Lee Merritt, a high-profile civil rights lawyer, said on Tuesday that there was an “unjustified use of force” when SAPD officer Stephen Ramos shot Andre Hernandez Jr. while he was driving a stolen vehicle with two other teens in the car on June 3.
Hernandez was later pronounced dead at University hospital. Ramos was subsequently placed on administrative leave.
“Stephen Ramos committed a crime on June 3 when he shot without provocation or without a proper justification into a vehicle full of children wounding and killing AJ Hernandez,” Merritt told NBC News on Tuesday. “Although we understand the investigation is ongoing, when there exists probable cause that a crime has occurred in the jurisdiction, the prosecutor’s office has the authority to issue arrest warrants.”
Officers were responding to reports of shots fired when they spotted a red car with three teenagers inside that had been reported as stolen, according to the San Antonio Police Department.
When Hernandez, who was driving, saw police, he allegedly intentionally backed up and T-boned a marked San Antonio police cruiser, cops said at the time. That’s when Ramos allegedly fired one shot at the vehicle, striking him in the abdomen. The two teen occupants of the stolen vehicle were unharmed.
The Bexar County District Attorney’s office told NBC that the incident is being internally investigated by the SAPD’s civil rights division.
The department will hand over its findings to the DA’s office when the investigation is complete and a grand jury will “determine whether there is sufficient evidence to send the case to a trial court.”
Merritt said Ramos should be charged with murder for pointing a gun at the teenager “who represented no threat to anyone and pulling the trigger is consistent with a murder charge or some level of homicide indictment.”
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