KILLEEN — The Texas Rangers have finished their investigation into the shooting death of a 40-year-old Killeen man during a no-knock raid in February, producing a 93-page report that said two Killeen Police Department SWAT team members fired shots during the raid.
Almost nine months later, the family of James Scott Reed is seeking the name of the second officer as well as preparing to ask a Bell County judge for substantial punishment for the one officer who is facing charges in relation to the Feb. 27 no-knock warrant service at Reed’s house at 215 W. Hallmark Ave.
Anthony Ryan Custance, 33, is set to be sentenced Dec. 2 after he pleaded guilty in September to the third-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence. He would not face any jail time if Judge Fancy Jezek, who presides over the 426th Judicial District Court, follows the plea agreement.
In a previous news release, KPD said no one was injured by Custance’s rounds but he had attempted to hide the fact he fired his weapon.
Killeen Police Chief Charles “Chuck” Kimble told FME News Service on Oct. 15 no-knock warrants are used rarely and are taken seriously.
“We check, double-check and triple-check before we go out. … I’m not saying that mistakes don’t happen. We saw that on Hallmark,” Kimble said. “We identified that something wasn’t right fairly quickly, and that person doesn’t work here anymore.”
A lawsuit delayed
Reed’s sister, Jumeka Reed, has become the family’s spokeswoman and an activist against no-knock warrants in general. She told FME on Wednesday her family’s attorney has had a preliminary, private meeting with city officials regarding a lawsuit against the city, the police department, Custance and the unnamed officer.
“We and our attorney want that officer’s name,” she said. “If they’ve already submitted everything to the grand jury then why are they hiding who this person is?”
Jumeka Reed said the Rangers’ report requested by the family left out relevant information.
“It just tells us what we already knew,” she said. “We can’t get any answers out of them. I feel like they’re hiding something, and it’s frustrating and annoying. As soon as we get that officer’s name, the lawsuit is ready to go.”
Soon after the officer-involved shooting, the first Texas Ranger arrived on scene at the request of KPD. At around 6:40 a.m., KPD notified the agency that “two officers exchanged gunfire (with Reed), who was shot and killed at the scene,” according to a partial Texas Rangers report obtained by FME through a Public Information Act request. Ten of 93 pages were included in response to the request, with much information on those pages redacted.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Texas Rangers, declined to release the investigation report to FME.
Governmental bodies do not have to release information if it “would interfere with the detection, investigation or prosecution of crime,” according to the Texas Government Code, Chapter 552.108, which deals with exceptions to the Public Information Act. In its letter to FME, DPS cited that code as its reason for not releasing the document in its entirety.
Jumeka Reed said her brother was asleep when the raid began and he did not fire any shots at officers.
On June 5, the lead investigator “presented the facts … to the Bell County grand jury,” according to DPS documents. “The grand jury returned a no action to be taken related to the shooting. I also presented evidence … that Officer Anthony Custance lied, concealed and altered evidence during the investigation.”
After deliberation, the grand jury returned its indictment against Custance and a warrant was issued for his arrest. The next day, he turned himself in to the Bell County Sheriff’s Department and was booked into jail. He has been free since posting bond soon after. Custance had resigned from KPD during the course of the investigation.
The case also is closed as far as the District Attorney’s Office is concerned.
“The matter was presented and the grand jury did not return an indictment concerning the action of the officers involved in the shooting,” said Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza in an email Tuesday. Garza further affirmed the information in KPD’s June 5 press release was “true and accurate.”
But for the Reed family, it’s not over and Dec. 2 is the next important date.
“I want to be able to speak to the judge before she sentences (Custance) to make sure she considers all factors,” Jumeka Reed said. “I want to know who started shooting first — Custance or the other officer. We still don’t know who shot James.”