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Texas police officer back to work after shooting woman

May 23, 2019
This undated photo provided by the Turner family shows Pamela Turner, right, with her daughter Chelsie Rubin in Baytown, Texas. A Houston-area police officer knew his neighbor suffered from mental illness and should have offered assistance when that was apparent, but instead he fatally shot the 44-year-old woman, a lawyer for the victim's family said Thursday, May 16, 2019. A police spokesman did not immediately respond to questions Thursday, but previously has said the officer tried to arrest Turner because he knew there were outstanding warrants against her. (Courtesy of the Turner Family via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Turner family shows Pamela Turner, right, with her daughter Chelsie Rubin in Baytown, Texas. A Houston-area police officer knew his neighbor suffered from mental illness and should have offered assistance when that was apparent, but instead he fatally shot the 44-year-old woman, a lawyer for the victim's family said Thursday, May 16, 2019. A police spokesman did not immediately respond to questions Thursday, but previously has said the officer tried to arrest Turner because he knew there were outstanding warrants against her. (Courtesy of the Turner Family via AP)

BAYTOWN, Texas (AP) — A Houston-area police officer who fatally shot a woman with mental illness is back on the job but not the streets.

Baytown police Officer Juan Delacruz returned to work Monday, according to a department spokesman. He’ll be on administrative duty during the investigation into his shooting of 44-year-old Pamela Turner.

Delacruz’s return to duty was announced Thursday as community leaders, elected officials and Turner’s family gathered at a Houston church to memorialize her and call for justice.

“I want Baytown, Texas, to know this is not something you’re going to brush under the rug and send the policeman back to work,” the Rev. Al Sharpton, a prominent civil rights activist, said during a eulogy. “If he’s going back to work, we’re going back to work too to get justice for Pamela Turner.”

Turner is the latest in a line of black people whose deaths in police shootings were captured on video and drew national attention.

Delacruz shot Turner on May 13 after she hit him with his Taser in a struggle during an attempted arrest, police have said. Turner’s family has presented the Hispanic officer as the aggressor, saying he was Turner’s neighbor , knew she had paranoid schizophrenia and should have de-escalated the situation.

A lawyer for the family said Wednesday that video of the incident and a private autopsy show Delacruz shot Turner in the stomach, chest and face while a “safe distance” away.

The Texas Rangers and the civil rights division of the Harris County district attorney’s office are investigating the shooting.

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