Michael Dean’s mother claimed a Temple Police detective told her that her son didn’t have a gun and didn’t pose a danger to the officer who shot him.
Dean, 28, of Temple died Monday night near Southeast HK Dodgen Loop and Little River Road after he reportedly was shot in the head by a Temple Police officer during a traffic stop.
The officer, whose name hasn’t been released, wasn’t injured. He has nine years of experience.
“If my son was in the wrong, so be it,” Christine Dean said Wednesday. “But why is he dead? He didn’t deserve to be shot down. Nobody can give me answers. If he was in the wrong there would a whole story out there, wouldn’t there?”
Temple Police released only basic details about the incident and referred media questions to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The investigation was turned over Tuesday to the Texas Rangers and the Bell County District Attorney’s Office.
When asked Wednesday if Dean was armed, DPS Sgt. Bryan Washko declined to comment.
“At this time the investigation is still ongoing; any new information will be released when warranted as to not compromise the investigation.” Washko said.
Temple Police didn’t respond to that Telegram question by press time.
‘Things just don’t add up’
Dean’s mother said she was told by a police detective her son didn’t pull over right away and, when he got out of the car, he walked toward the officer — who shot him.
She feels like Michael was trying to make it to a gas station before he pulled over, Christine Dean said.
“Things just don’t add up. He knows not to get out of a car when he’s pulled over. And people said they saw the police officer pull him (Michael) out of the car,” she said.
The people she would normally look to for answers — the Temple Police Department — isn’t telling her anything, Christine Dean said.
“Temple has washed their hands of it. We’re told to contact the Texas Rangers,” she said.
Temple Police Department didn’t release information that someone died in the officer-involved shooting until Tuesday afternoon. When asked why that fact was omitted from the initial news release after the man already had been declared dead, spokesman Chris Christoff said the incident occurred in public, “meaning that the vehicle had the potential of being easily recognizable. We wanted an opportunity to notify Dean’s family prior to releasing the information to the public.”
Christine Dean said Temple Police didn’t tell his family Michael was dead until about 1:30 a.m. — more than five hours after he was shot. He was pronounced dead at 8:26 p.m., shortly after the shooting occurred at about 8:15 p.m.
Christoff said Wednesday evening that the notification process was time consuming.
“The area was subject to extensive investigative procedure to include stabilizing the scene; maintaining the flow of traffic; contacting and the arrival of all the necessary resources and off-duty personnel to include justice of the peace; contacting all of the investigators to the scene to include the Texas Rangers; and confirming the identity of the decreased and the identifies/contact inform for next of kin,” he said in a statement.
The officer-involved shooting wasn’t listed on LexisNexis Community Crime Map, which is what Temple Police Department uses to list its reports to inform the public of incidents in the community.
Michael was almost 4 years old when the Deans adopted him and his four siblings.
“He’s not a criminal. He wasn’t out there committing crimes,” his mother said. “They’re making it seem like he was a bad person.”
He was like any other kid in his teens and 20s, Christine Dean said.
“They get to know everything and make some decisions that aren’t smart — like mouthing off or fighting with his siblings.”
Dean had only misdemeanor convictions on his criminal record.
Michael was a “good-hearted person,” she said. She said he’d do anything for anyone and gave God credit for everything.
Autopsy result pending
The family was brought nothing to prove Dean was dead, according to his mother.
Bell County Justice of the Peace Ted Duffield issued the order for an autopsy, and said the body was sent Tuesday morning to the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. Dean’s body hadn’t been returned by press time Wednesday, Duffield said.
Dean was shot in the head, Duffield said.
Christine Dean believes her son was shot more than once.
“I feel like someone messed up. I really do,” Christine said. “I want to know why my son died on the concrete. I’ve never heard of anyone not giving information about their loved one. If he did something wrong and you had to do it, so be it — but tell me.”
Dean is the father of three elementary-age children.
“I didn’t have the words to tell them,” Christine said. “They just hung onto my neck. All I could tell them was to remember their dad loves them forever.”