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Forest Hill police officer arrested in fatal shooting of man, warrant says

Logan Andrew Barr Jr., 23, faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant, a first-degree felony.

FOREST HILL, Texas — A Forest Hill police officer has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a man who was suspected of killing a woman in June, according to an arrest warrant.

Logan Andrew Barr Jr., 23, faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant, a first-degree felony.

A warrant was issued for his arrest on July 26. 

The warrant said Barr fatally shot Michael Lee Ross Jr., 32, while responding to a stabbing call at a gas station in the 6500 block of Wichita Street on the morning of June 9.

Barr bonded out just hours after being arrested, and Ross' family said they were never told and found out about the arrest on Facebook. 

“Don’t secretly do it, let him bond out, and not say anything," Cory Session, the vice president of the Innocence Project of Texas said. “It is a piss poor way for a mother to find out that a police officer has been charged with aggravated assault for killing her son.” 

Police initially said they shot Ross because he had a knife and turned toward an officer after they found him in a creek. Police also said Ross was trying to hurt himself with the knife.

A Texas Ranger's review of body camera footage showed that while Ross did have a knife, he did not make any verbal threats toward the officers, did not raise the knife in a threatening manner and did not try to run away. He was standing about 15-20 feet from the officers when he was shot.

The Ranger also found that Ross did not try to harm himself during the incident.

Due to these factors, the investigating Ranger found that Ross "did not pose a reasonable and immediate threat of death or bodily injury to the officers or others when he was shot."

“I need justice. I need to know the truth. I need to know why did they shoot him," Regina Syas, Ross' mother said. “Why would you give charge to shoot someone who’s not even a threat to you? That’s murder."

RELATED: Forest Hill police fatally shoot man who allegedly stabbed woman to death, officials say

Police had received a 911 call that a woman, Kieona Hall, 37, had been stabbed in the parking lot of the gas station. Hall was later pronounced dead.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found the stabbing suspect, Ross, in a creek just north of the gas station.

According to body camera footage detailed in the warrant, Barr and another officer shouted for Ross to drop his knife. A police sergeant also began shouting at Ross to drop the knife. 

The video showed the sergeant and Barr with their guns pointed at Ross, according to the warrant. Barr was standing on top of a steep grass embankment on the south side of the creek, and the sergeant was standing on the embankment on the north side.

The sergeant "continually commanded" Ross to drop his knife, the warrant said. At one point, the sergeant went to his vehicle to get a less-lethal shotgun, and then returned to the creek embankment.

The footage showed Ross "pacing back and forth in the creek," the warrant said, and the sergeant told him to not run. The sergeant then fired four shots from the shotgun, according to the warrant. 

Ross "became more unsteady with each shot," the warrant said, and then fell backwards into the water on the fourth shot.

When Ross got up, he was still holding the knife, and the sergeant told him again to drop the weapon. The sergeant fired one more shot from the less-lethal shotgun and Ross "appeared to collapse." 

Ross then sat up and was still holding the knife, according to the warrant. Ross then stood up and then lay down in the water on his back, with the knife in his hand. 

The sergeant told Barr to get his less-lethal shotgun, which has a bright orange stock, according to the warrant. Body camera footage showed Barr getting a black shotgun from his police vehicle, the warrant said.

When Barr radioed to his sergeant that his shotgun was deployed, the sergeant told him, "Shoot him."

Ross, who was unsteady on his feet, was walking away from Barr, the warrant said.

About 16 seconds later, Ross turned back toward the officers and Barr fired two shots at Ross, causing Ross to collapse. 

The officers then approached Ross, who was laying on the ground. The sergeant and Barr turned Ross on to his stomach and put him in handcuffs and noticed blood on his thigh and groin area.

Barr asked the sergeant, "Do I need to get the casings from the lethal shotgun?"

The sergeant also shot and killed the service dog that was next to Ross, according to the Texas Rangers.

“They shot and killed him and his service dog," Syas said. "I don’t understand why.”

Ross was taken to a hospital, where he died.

“Another young man is dead at the hands of a police officer who was ill trained,"  Session said. “He was known to the Forest Hill Police Department to have mental health issues. There’s training under the Sandra Bland Act.” 

Syas said she has still not heard from police or the Texas Rangers and has asked to see the body camera video. 

"That is horrible," Session said. "Shame on the Texas Rangers. Shame on the Forest Hill Police Department for not at least reaching out and giving her some answers.” 

Police have not released more information about the initial stabbing. It was unclear Wednesday whether Barr was still employed by the police department.