MESQUITE – A large group of community members gathered at Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church on Friday for the wake services of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.
The atmosphere was thick with sadness. A different king of sadness covered the faces of some mourners entering the church, just hours after the Dallas County Sheriff’s office announced a murder warrant was filed against Roy Oliver. Oliver is the former Balch Springs Police officer who shot the teen.
"It’s going to be a very emotional weekend,” said Lee Merritt, the attorney for the grieving family. “This man walking free has been hanging over their head. So, this lifts a great burden off that family.”
Merritt says Jordan’s mom and dad have asked for privacy and no protests as they prepare to bury their boy.
Jordan was a standout student and athlete at Mesquite High School. Merritt says the family is focused on protecting Jordan’s two teenage brothers who witnessed Oliver fire a rifle into their car as the boys and friends drove away from a party on Sunday.
Merritt explained, ”They are struggling. They are struggling through terrors. They are struggling through anger, through disappointment.”
As friends and loved ones comfort the Edwards family, not too far away, emotions are also high in Balch Springs Police Department.
”We’re hurting,” said Chief Jonathan Haber. “It’s been a struggle at times.”
Haber made the decision to fire Oliver earlier in the week, after reviewing body camera footage of the shooting. The police chief says he wanted an independent investigation of the case, out of the need for transparency.
Haber explained, ”There’s no way to describe the range of emotions that all of us have felt. I can’t even put it into words.”13
Lawyers for the Edwards family say they intend on filing an official complaint in the officer involved shooting case. Supporters of the family say they know there is still a lot of work to do.
Merritt said, “A charge is great, but it’s been 47 years since the State of Texas had a conviction for murder of a law enforcement officer. So, the family is in it, as they said…for the long haul.”
A funeral service for Jordan Edwards will be held at 11a.m., Saturday May 6. The family says the service is not open to the public.
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