DALLAS —- A former Dallas senior corporal who was fired over the shooting of an unarmed carjacking suspect was indicted on an aggravated assault charge Thursday, according to several sources with knowledge of the case.
The indictment of Amy Wilburn is the first time that a Dallas police officer has been indicted over an on-duty police shooting since the 1973 fatal shooting of 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez.
Wilburn, 49, faces a first-degree felony charge in the Dec. 9 shooting of 19-year-old Kelvion Walker. Wilburn and other police officers were chasing carjacking suspects at the time of the shooting.
She told internal investigators that she believed Walker was reaching for a weapon. An independent witness told News 8 that Walker had his hands up and showed no signs of a weapon.
Prosecutors presented the Wilburn case to the grand jury Thursday. The results of the grand jury have not yet been officially released, but news of the indictment rapidly spread through the ranks of the Dallas Police Department.
“Amy’s devastated,” said her attorney, Robert Rogers. “Grand juries are obviously totally controlled by the prosecution. A jury gets to hear our side of the story, and we look forward to her acquittal.”
Next Tuesday, grand jurors are expected to hear testimony about another controversial police shooting.
Cardan Spencer, the officer in that case, was fired last October after shooting a mentally ill man with a knife. Spencer and his partner said Bobby Bennett was coming at them with the weapon. Neighbor’s surveillance video showed something different; that Bennett had his hands down side and wasn’t coming at them.
Ron Pinkston, president of the Dallas Police Association, declined to comment Thursday, but he has previously said that officers no longer know when they can use force.
"The use of force is up in the air," Pinkston told News 8 shortly after her firing. "Officers aren't going to know when they can use deadly force and when they can't, and who is going to back them when they do."
The string of events that led to Wilburn shooting Walker started shortly on the afternoon of Dec. 9, when two men carjacked a man at gunpoint at a Bruton Road gas station. One of the carjackers fired shots at the victim as they drove away.
Plainclothes officers later spotted the car parked at Pleasant Grove townhome complex. Walker and another man got in to the car and began to drive away. Officers tried to stop the fleeing car, which drove back into the complex.
Police dash cam video shows that the driver jumped out of the car and ran away as the car continued to roll. The video shows Wilburn running up to the driver’s side of the car in an apparent effort to stop the moving car.
As she reaches into the car from the driver side to halt it, she pulls her weapon and fires into the car, striking Walker in the passenger seat. The video does not show what Walker was doing.
Rogers has previously said that Wilburn only had moments to react and the shooting should be viewed in the light of the fact that officers were chasing men that they believed to be armed carjacking suspects.
From his bed at Baylor Medical Center in December, Walker also told News 8 his hands were in the air at the time of the shooting.
"I just had my hands up and I seen her look at me, and I looked at her and she just fired," he said. "I was just shocked and I said, ‘Why did you shoot me?’ She just said, ‘I am sorry, I am sorry. I didn’t try to.'"
Walker filed a civil suit against Wilburn in mid-December.
In firing Wilburn on New Year’s Eve, Police Chief David Brown said Wilburn shot Walker “without fear or justification.”