Former Temple Police Officer Carmen DeCruz

Former Temple Police Officer Carmen DeCruz

Carmen DeCruz — the Temple Police officer charged with manslaughter in the Dec. 2 shooting death of Michael Dean — resigned from the Temple Police Department late Tuesday.

DeCruz — accused of violating three department policies in connection with the shooting — also was the subject of an internal investigation. The internal investigation was closed as a result of his resignation, the Police Department said Wednesday in a news release.

Based on the findings of the internal investigation launched Dec. 4, the department said in the release, Interim Chief Jim Tobin met with DeCruz on Feb. 7 and proposed an indefinite suspension — the equivalent of termination under Texas Civil Service law.

The proposed discipline was part of the administrative hearing process, the release said. DeCruz, however, submitted a letter of resignation, the department said. Due to DeCruz’s resignation, the internal investigation and administrative hearing process concluded without a final disposition of discipline.

In his resignation letter, dated Tuesday, DeCruz had a simple message: “I hereby resign my position from the Temple Police Department, effective this date (Feb. 18).”

Dean family attorney Lee Merritt did not return a Telegram call Wednesday. The Dean family could not be reached for comment.

Temple Police said documents related to the internal investigation and administrative hearing process will not be released under the state open records law since there was no discipline imposed by the chief.

The internal investigation was separate from the criminal investigation.

DeCruz was in the Bell County Jail on Wednesday in lieu of a $500,000 bond for the second-degree felony charge.

The shooting of Dean, 28, occurred during a traffic stop. Dean, a Temple resident, did not have a weapon.

An arrest affidavit obtained by the Telegram said a review of DeCruz’s in-car and body camera video showed DeCruz had his weapon drawn when he walked to the front of his patrol car and Dean’s vehicle after a traffic stop. DeCruz reportedly went to the passenger side of Dean’s vehicle, told him to turn the car off and give him the keys. DeCruz then reached into Dean’s vehicle with his left hand to try to get control of the keys. His gun was in his right hand. DeCruz’s gun was pointed at Dean and his finger was on the trigger, the affidavit said.

When DeCruz pulled on the keys with his left hand, his right hand pulled back. The gun fired — striking Dean in the head.

After the shot was fired, DeCruz was seen on video as he pulled Dean from the vehicle’s passenger side. DeCruz and other responding officers gave medical aid to Dean until medics arrived.

Dean was pronounced dead at the scene by Bell County Justice of the Peace Ted Duffield. The autopsy report, prepared by Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, said Dean died from a gunshot wound to the head.

The DPS Crime Laboratory on Feb. 3 reviewed the report, which said the Glock pistol was operational and didn’t malfunction during test firing, according to the affidavit.