Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

March 25, 2013

‘No Bill’ for Alto officer

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

RUSK — A Cherokee County grand jury on Monday declined to indict Alto police Officer Brandon Michael Smith for the Jan. 22 fatal shooting of suspected convenience robber James Eric Griffin.

The grand jury reviewed physical evidence, witness statements, as well as audio, video and photographic evidence before “no-billing” Smith  on Monday, Cherokee County District Attorney Rachel Patton announced in a news release.

The Texas Ranger who investigated the shooting also testified before the grand jury, reports show.

Griffin, 48, an Anderson Cherokee Community Enrichment Services patient, was believed to be off his medication during the suspected convenience store robbery in January.

The shooting took place down the road from the convenience store where Griffin apparently displayed a machete tucked in his waistband to a store clerk as he took a pack of cigarettes.

When an officer-related shooting in Texas is investigated, the findings are submitted to a grand jury, which then determines if the officer acted appropriately and, if not, what charges are warranted.

A more comprehensive report will be available in the next edition of the Jacksonville Daily Progress.