GATESVILLE — The 52nd District Court will not pursue charges against a Copperas Cove police officer who fatally shot a Copperas Cove man in February.
A Coryell County grand jury told 52nd Court District Attorney Dusty Boyd to not pursue charges against Cove Patrol Officer Billy Jo Ray III. Ray was involved in the shooting death of Kristopher Charles Gagliardi, 24, of Cove.
“It was presented to a grand jury as an advisory case,” said District Attorney Dusty Boyd.
In an advisory case, the jury hears witness statements, testimony and is presented with evidence, he said. It then tells the district attorney what charges to pursue, if any.
In this case, the jury said it “found no wrongdoing and declined to take any further action against” Ray, Boyd said in a news release Tuesday.
While Boyd didn’t talk about the particulars of the case, he said the grand jury probably considered Ray was acting in self-defense. He also said since the case is officially closed, it will be subject to state open record laws.
The Copperas Cove Police Department never commented on the case, but Coryell County Justice of the Peace John Guinn at the time of the incident said it appeared Ray acted in self-defense, based on the preliminary investigation information given to him.
Ray responded to a domestic disturbance about 6:15 p.m. in the 500 block of Westview Lane, where Gagliardi allegedly barricaded himself in a home, Guinn said in February.
As Gagliardi came out of the residence, he allegedly approached the officer with a knife in his hand in a threatening manner. The officer reportedly moved back, but the man continued to advance.
Guinn said a knife was found near Gagliardi at the scene. The preliminary autopsy report performed by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science showed Gagliardi died from multiple gunshot wounds.
“It is obviously a huge tragedy for his family and a huge tragedy for the officer,” Boyd said. “This is not anything anyone wants to do. It is just a tragedy for all.”
Texas Rangers conducted the investigation on the case before it was presented to the grand jury.