DA Drops Charges Against Couple Who Shot Deputy, Blames Deputy For Getting Shot

The Caldwell County district attorney said the pair who shot Deputy Jay Johnson had every right to defend themselves.

Caldwell County, TX – A Caldwell County deputy was heralded as a hero after being shot in the line of duty.

But a year later, the prosecutor dropped the charges against the people who shot him and blamed the incident on the deputy instead.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight on Feb. 2, 2018, when Caldwell County Sheriff’s Deputy Jay Johnson responded to a call about the theft of a tool chest on Hidden Oak Road in Dale, KVUE reported.

The victim told Deputy Johnson that he suspected his neighbor, with whom he had an ongoing dispute, had stolen the tools, according to KVUE.

So the deputy headed over to the property of Kimberley Moore on foot, and without his police car.

He walked through a gate that bore “private property” and “no trespassing” signs and up the driveway toward the house.

“I hear a woman call out ‘I hope you’re ready to die’ and then I feel the pain in my shoulder. And then I realized I had just been shot,” Deputy Johnson told KVUE.

Moore, 54, and her 33-year-old boyfriend Eduardo Padilla told police they thought it was the angry neighbor coming to get them, and they were just defending themselves.

“I didn’t see any police lights, not coming in or not pulling up to our fence. He didn’t say anything as he was coming down the driveway. So I had no idea who he was,” Padilla told police.

Moore said there was nothing to tell them law enforcement was anywhere near her property.

“There wasn’t even a patrol car out front, and it wasn’t until we shot that he started screaming ‘I’m a cop, I’m a cop,” she explained to deputies at the scene.

It was Moore and Padilla who called 911 and reported that the deputy had been shot and needed help immediately. And they cooperated with law enforcement at the scene and were taken into custody without incident, KVUE reported.

Both were charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and deadly conduct discharge of firearm.

Bond was set at $50,000 for each charge, according to KVUE.

But in March, Caldwell County District Attorney Fred Weber announced he was dropping the charges against Moore and Padilla “in the best interest of justice.”

Weber said that Moore and Padilla had believed they were shooting at someone who had been threatening them and had no idea they were shooting at a law enforcement officer, KVUE reported.

He said they had the legal right to protect their property from someone they believed was an intruder, according to KVUE.

“This decision is based on a set of facts unique to this case and does not diminish my support of our local law enforcement personnel nor discount the dangers they encounter on a daily basis," the district attorney said in a statement.

Although Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law has refused to comment on the recent developments, the sheriff’s office released a statement that said he supported Weber’s decision to dismiss the charges against Moore and Padilla, according to KVUE.

Deputy Johnson, who had been a member of the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office for less than a year before he was shot, was devastated by the news.

“It went from me being the victim to me being a defendant basically. I had to defend why I was shot,” he said. “I was just hoping for justice. I mean, how can you shoot a cop and get away with it without even a ticket?”

The deputy said he hadn’t arrived lights and sirens at the house because had been hoping to handle the situation with the least possible police involvement.

Multiple law enforcement sources advised Blue Lives Matter that it would be unheard of to respond to such a call with lights and sirens on.

"Who the heck responds to a cold theft with their lights on?" one officer asked rhetorically.

The wounded deputy explained he was trying to handle the situation in the most reasonable manner he could.

“I was trying to handle this on the lowest level possible so that these people could go to bed, and these people could collect their belongings and move on with their lives,” he said.

Further complicating matters, the battery was dead on Deputy Johnson’s bodycam the night he was shot, KVUE reported.

“Had he displayed some common sense about how he dealt with this, I have no doubt this would not have happened,” the district attorney said after he dropped the charges against Moore and Padilla, planting responsibility squarely at the feet of the wounded deputy.

The Texas Municipal Police Association, the union to which Deputy Johnson belongs, is standing behind the young deputy.

"The DA's action here represents a grave injustice to Deputy Johnson, Texas law enforcement and the law abiding citizens of Caldwell County,” the union said in a statement.

Comments (122)
No. 1-39
AnnykaV
AnnykaV

It's called Castle Doctrine, not Driveway Doctrine. And if you couldn't tell you were shooting at a deputy, you couldn't know you were shooting at your neighbor either. Signs on your gate don't mean police can't approach your house to talk to you.

JBo
JBo

‘I hope you’re ready to die’. BANG!

To a person walking in your driveway? Shoot first and ask questions later? Sounds like attempt murder.

ManBearPig
ManBearPig

All that supposed training and I guess reading wasnt a required course

CRETE GARY
CRETE GARY

Was he in uniform?Shoot with out knowing who your shooting at?I know of NO state where one can use deadly Force to protect PROPERTY?Flip the coin now.The officer did see the signs and should have announced his coming.

Theendisnear
Theendisnear

There wanst a "trespassers will be shot" sign! I hope the cop sues them civilly and takes their property!!!

LEO0301
LEO0301

I thought identifying your target before shooting them is somewhat of a requirement. The officer never even entered the house. So if a person walks out into a wheat field ignoring a no trespassing sign, the farmer can shoot them? And what if it was a child who came onto the property? Seriously, yet another DA who has his head up his ass. It seems to be a trend lately.

Bud
Bud

I can't take the Deputies side 100% He was partially wrong by not having his car, to show who he was, after all it was very dark. But she is not without blame. She was not justified to shoot someone she could not even see was a uniformed Deputy, just because he was on her property. At that point there was no threat made towards her. The DA dropped the ball on this one!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

He should not have trespassed even if he had his police car with lights or sirens going. Policemen are not immune from trespassing laws (at least absent exigent circumstances). This article does not say what time he was approaching. It doesn't say if his gun was out. Finally, if any other policemen are thinking of trespassing, please charge up your bodycam first.

Dutchuncle
Dutchuncle

He was NOT forcing his way into the house, he was still OUTSIDE and in uniform. Adding to that the words "I hope you are ready to die" makes it premeditated. This DA needs to be removed and these people need to be tried for Attempted Capital Murder of an LEO.

Grog
Grog

===[Weber said that Moore and Padilla had believed they were shooting at someone who had been threatening them....]=== So in other words, they had NO IDEA who they were shooting at!!!!!! What a pathetic DA!!!!!!

JeffRowe
JeffRowe

The neighbor was probably right, with someone named "Padilla" living next door.

Richmac
Richmac

Sounds to me like they were just waiting for their neighbor to come over so they could shoot him. It's after midnight and you're just sitting around looking for trespassers? The neighbor is lucky the police went over instead of him.

yelyana
yelyana

I guess this 'couple' never went through any concealed carry and / or hand gun courses. I know my course constantly talked about when to shoot and when not to shoot. The officer should take them to civil court.

J10107
J10107

So instead of locking their doors and calling the police, Kimberley Moore and Eduardo Padilla decided to indiscriminately shoot at, and kill anyone walking up to their front door.

Thank God it wasn't some kid coming home who mistook the house.

But the Caldwell County District Attorney, Fred Weber really decided that every Caldwell County resident should blindly shoot at anyone walking up to their front door, or outside of their residence's, and Daniel Law, the Caldwell County Sheriff approved???

So every mail carrier, utility worker, fire, police, or emergency worker deserves to die because they stepped foot on someone's property in Caldwell County Texas???

Fred Weber and Daniel Law need to be immediately FIRED and REPLACED.

Attempted Murder charges need to be filed against Kimberley Moore and Eduardo Padilla, and Deputy Johnson should civilly sue them and hopefully owns their house afterwards!!!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

"'I was trying to handle this on the lowest level possible so that these people could go to bed, and these people could collect their belongings and move on with their lives,' he said." This is a ridiculous statement. If he found the toolbox then "these people" would have been "going to bed" in jail -- they would have been arrested. He wasn't there to act as some sort of courteous ombudsman. He was looking for an arrest. Also, while I can't find out the time this happened, the Statesman article says it happened in the morning. The deputies statement made it sound like it happened in the night.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

“While the circumstances surrounding this event are unfortunate, Caldwell County Sheriff Daniel Law supports the decision made by Caldwell County District Attorney Fred Weber to drop the charges against Kimberly Moore and Eduardo Padilla,” the Cadwell County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday. “Sheriff Law does not have any more information to provide comment on in this case.”

Cstuartsr
Cstuartsr

Another bleeding heart liberal in a position that thinks they can do anything at the expense of an officer. Blood is on the prosecutors hands and he will get what he has coming.

Inquirer63
Inquirer63

So, just open fire on anyone walking up your driveway/sidewalk? With no challenge or verbal exchange? Sounds like “civilian brutality” and excessive use of force. The officer should sue in civil court. If it had been a criminal intent on harming the residents, the DA probably would have charged the residents.

tfort
tfort

I am surprised the cop made it this far without being shot. Idiot.

asillyrabbit551
asillyrabbit551

So if it were a child looking for a lost pet and that child were shot it would be the child's fault?

Old Hawg
Old Hawg

Absent a clearly defined and articulatable threat, shooting someone, cop or not, is generally frowned upon. Not there. apparently.

Stanracer
Stanracer

If they didn't know it was the police then they would not have known if it was the neighbour either. This was clearly dangerous use of a firearm. The charges should never had been dropped. They clearly did not have proper training to have guns.

retiredcop
retiredcop

So I guess it it had been a neighborhood child, that would be ok too. Or how about a gas and electric meter reader, someone soliciting, or any number of people could have walked on that property. This sets bad case law.

Woobie46
Woobie46

So, what I seem to be reading is that a person inside a house can shoot at anyone approaching his door without looking first to see who it might be. I guess that means if I shoot a girl scout who is selling cookies, I'm not responsible and there will be no charges. This DA should be fired IMMEDIATELY for having NO COMMON SENSE. The officer was just "approaching" the house...how does that mean someone can just shoot?

NotPC
NotPC

Common sense? That's what the prosecutor lacks, not the cop.

jayess
jayess

The POS DA has just said "FUCK THE POLICE"

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

So she shot the uniformed deputy through the door, without even looking to see who it was?

What if it was girl scouts selling cookies? Anyone who rings the doorbell gets two shots center mass?

Heaven forbid a Jehovah's Witness knock on their door..

Kstone_1022
Kstone_1022

Arm chair quarterbacks!!! Whatever happened to “ know your target before you pull the trigger”. This is Bullshit. Charge them with shooting with intent to kill and let the courts sort it out.

Buttermilk
Buttermilk

It is obvious from reading these comments who has actually been out there doing the job of an LEO. Listening to you Jailhouse Lawyers 2nd guess is amusing at best!

5150
5150

OK, so they shot at what they thought was their neighbor coming to hurt them, but shot a cop instead. I m no cop or lawyer, but shooting at a target you can't identify seems very reckless. How is that not a crime in itself? Even if it wasn't a cop?

GregoryThomas
GregoryThomas

"said he supported Weber’s decision to dismiss the charges"

The Sherriff agrees with the District Attorney.

"they had the legal right to protect their property from someone they believed was an intruder"

Every citizen has this Right...officers need to respect that.

"I mean, how can you shoot a cop and get away with it without even a ticket?”

“I was trying to handle this on the lowest level possible so that these people could go to bed, and these people could collect their belongings and move on with their lives,”

So you assumed their guilt, entered their property illegally without a warrant to conduct an investigation and didn't announce yourself as an officer...and wonder why you got shot?

I normally back our boys in blue...but this time I just can't...he did everything wrong.

Annoyed99
Annoyed99

One of the first things I was told in Concealed Carry class is you will be judged on what the facts ARE not what you thought they were. The instructor even mentioned the possibility of an undercover cop as something to think about. BTW in my area the police never park in front of the house they are going to. They park a few houses down and walk up.

Pack
Pack

Definitely shouldn’t be shooting at someone when you don’t even know who you’re shooting at. Trespassing in Texas isn’t a great idea either. Don’t think criminal charges apply, but definitely see a civil lawsuit.

spd522
spd522

Both the DA and Sheriff are Democrats. No wonder they side with criminals before cops.

Deadfan73
Deadfan73

Another Snowflake DA afraid to do his job because he’s got no b@//$....... I guess just firing at anything or anyone at night is justified. And.....if they hadn’t of just stolen something, what would make them think it was the neighbor? Those two sound like absolute angels....yes, that is sarcasm.

Sandi2
Sandi2

He wasn't in the house, he wasn't even at the front four so how did they feel in immediate danger? Shut the four, get away from the windows and call police if you think someone is coming to garm you. The DA is WRONG in this case...hope he is the one losing a job

BlueLM101
BlueLM101

What ever happened to identifying what you are aiming at before shooting?

NB3434
NB3434

Good decision by the DA. The deputy did not have a warrant and did not have probable cause, only mere suspicion. He ignored "No Trespassing" signs and went onto the neighbor's property at night, unannounced, at a time when the theft victim admitted he and the neighbors were having a dispute. The deputy's uniform did not give him the right to trespass, and criminal mischief at night is sufficient justification in Texas for using deadly force. In the absence of evidence that the neighbors committed this particular act of theft or were engaged in a major criminal enterprise, it would be extremely difficult to show that the neighbors did not have reasonable belief that they were defending themselves and their property when they shot the deputy.

Further, it's likely that the deputy violated his department's own protocols in the process of trespassing on private property at night.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

It should also be noted that the sheriff and DA may have reason to suspect that the gate was locked and that the deputy clambered over it, instead of walking thru an open gate. That might help explain why the bodycam "ran out of battery power."