Fort Worth, TX – A college student who shot a police officer who was serving him with murder warrant was sentenced to only four years in prison by a jury on Tuesday.
Police said that investigators determined 26-year-old Joel McCommon was the suspect in the April 23, 2016 murder of Jordan Miles, a 17-year-old high school student, the Star-Telegram reported.
The shooting occurred after McCommon made a deal to sell weed to a girl he met online.
Miles and two of his friends showed up for the purchase, the Star-Telegram reported.
They climbed into McCommon’s 2006 red Nissan Altima and pulled a fake gun on the drug dealer.
McCommon pulled out his own real gun and fired at Miles, the Star-Telegram reported.
Miles grabbed McCommon’s gun and fled, but McCommon followed him and caught up.
He stood over the would-be thief screaming “Where’s my money?” and then retrieved his gun, according to prosecutors.
Miles was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
McCommon’s attorney, Deric Walpole, said his client believed it was friends of the dead teenager who were at his door two days later when three Arlington patrol officers and two Saginaw detectives surrounded his home to try and take his client into custody, the Star-Telegram reported.
Tarrant County Prosecutor Dawn Ferguson said the officers knocked loudly and aggressively on the door for five minutes on April 25, 2016 before McCommon cracked the door and slammed it shut again.
Then McCommon opened the door again and started shooting, the Star-Telegram reported.
His bullets struck Arlington Police Officer Eddie Johnson and the officer returned fire.
Arlington Police Detective Chris Stinson, who was there when Officer Johnson was shot, testified that McCommon was shot in the gun battle, the Star-Telegram reported.
“I requested two ambulances,” Det. Stinson said on the stand. “One for the officer and the other for the suspect. I had put out over the radio that an officer had been shot. It was bad.”
Another brave officer dragged Officer Johnson to safety out of the line of fire while they waited for medics to arrive, the Star-Telegram reported.
But Walpole contended that police had never announced themselves as law enforcement when they knocked on the door, and that his client had believed he was acting in self-defense when he opened fire on officers, the Star-Telegram reported.
“He was a college student who was smoking pot who successfully defended himself in a robbery,” Walpole said. “There are five bullet holes around that door handle. Two of those bullets went into my client.”
McCommon was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Officer Johnson, a three-year veteran of the police force, was treated and released from the hospital the next day.
"We are thankful that our officer has returned to full duty and how this case has proceeded through the criminal justice system," an Arlington Police Department spokesman said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
A Tarrant County jury found McCommon guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on March 22.
He faced up to 20 years in prison on the charge, and would have been facing up to life in prison if he had been convicted on the original charge of aggravated assault on a peace officer, the Dallas Morning News reported.
On March 26, he was sentenced to four years in prison for shooting Officer Johnson.
McCommon, who was a senior at University of Texas – Arlington when the incident occurred, may still have to go on trial for the murder of Miles, the Dallas Morning News reported.