The woman who says she was shot by an off-duty police officer in Copperas Cove said she was attempting to get to a nearby hospital when she was shot.
Lacresha Murray, a Copperas Cove resident, told two TV outlets (KWTX and KXXV) that she was on Robertson Avenue near her home when she began to feel ill.
She made a sudden U-turn on the residential street in front of a silver truck, she told KXXV. She said she was attempting to get to AdventHealth-Central Texas in Killeen.
According to her account of the incident, Murray said the driver of the truck went around her vehicle and slowed down. She told KXXV that she went back around the truck. After that, the driver of the truck began to tailgate her.
At a stop sign in the 1500 block of Robertson Avenue, she said she got out to approach the driver with her hand clutching her hip area, which she said was in pain.
She said he shot at her and she ducked as she ran back to her vehicle.
“I ran back to my truck to get in and drive out,” she told KXXV. “He just started shooting, all I could do was lean over and he hit me six times.”
Murray told KWTX that the man did not identify himself as an officer until after she had been shot.
The incident happened around 12:45 p.m. Sunday, police said in a news release.
Tammy Bracewell, an associate professor of criminal justice at Texas A&M University-Central Texas, said there are no laws or standards that require officers to act in an official capacity when they are off duty.
“Even though you’re always considered ‘on duty,’ what that really means is you’re responsible for your actions on and off duty,” Bracewell said. “It doesn’t mean you’re always required or expected to act.”
She said that the expectation is that an off-duty officer calls something in to an on-duty unit and acts as a witness.
Bracewell still holds an active Master Peace Officer license and served 10 years as a police officer.
“Now, there are times when — particularly in situations that have the potential to turn violent — where you may see an off-duty officer act in a capacity of an officer,” Bracewell said Tuesday.
She also said shooting incidents involving off-duty officers cannot be lumped in, or compared, with other officer-involved shootings involving on-duty officers, because some situations involving off-duty officers may be instances in which the officer is acting under his/her own volition.
The Texas Rangers, a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety, are investigating the shooting.
The Copperas Cove Police Department has directed all questions go to the Texas Rangers. Neither law enforcement agency has substantiated Murray’s version of events, saying the case is still under investigation.
Bracewell emphasized that Murray’s account of the incident is just one part of the story. She said she is confident the Texas Rangers will determine the facts of the case and determine whether the off-duty officer was acting within the letter of the law or not.
Officials with the DPS said the incident is still under investigation and no further information is available.
Lt. Kevin Miller, a spokesman for the Copperas Cove Police Department, said the officer is on administrative leave. He did not specify whether the leave is with or without pay.