Copperas Cove police identify officer in Sunday shooting
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The off-duty Copperas Cove police officer who was involved in a shooting last Sunday afternoon on Robertson Avenue has been identified as Eric Stoneburner in a press conference held by the Copperas Cove Police Department Friday morning.
Stoneburner turned himself in to the Coryell County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, after submitting his resignation from the police department, said Copperas Cove Chief of Police Eddie Wilson. Stoneburner had been with the department for nearly five years, including his time in the police academy and field training.
He has been charged with Aggravated Assault Serious Bodily Injury/Use of a Deadly Weapon and was released on bond. Chief Wilson could not confirm the amount of the bond.
Before Wilson shared the details of the events that led to the shooting, he thanked the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers for their professionalism and the work they’ve put into this investigation. He also thanked the citizens of Copperas Cove.
“You’ve patiently waited for answers allowing us to direct focus towards this critical matter,” Wilson said. “I take solace in knowing some communities would not have responded in the same way. In return, we owed it to all of our citizens to be as transparent as this investigation will allow us to be. Please understand that when particular information can and should be released is controlled by state law and by legitimate investigative objectives. This has been done to obtain all available information and discover the truth in every aspect of this incident.”
Wilson said that there is a video being held as evidence with DPS, and as such the release of that video will be determined by DPS. He could not comment on whether the video was from a cell phone, doorbell camera or other type of camera.
The details of the event leading up to the shooting begin with the female driver, identified as Lacresha Murray, driving westbound on Robertson Avenue at approximately 12:40 p.m. on Sunday, May 23.
Wilson shared that Stoneburner’s vehicle was traveling eastbound on Robertson Avenue. Murray turned her vehicle across both lanes of traffic, appearing to try and back her vehicle into a driveway around the 900 block. Stoneburner yielded as Murray backed toward the driveway and then decided to drive past the front end of Murray’s vehicle once space presented. Murray also started to move forward, and both drivers paused to prevent a collision. Stoneburner then continued past and continued eastbound.
Murray passed Stoneburner’s vehicle on the left side in the 1400 block, almost striking the front left side of Stoneburner’s vehicle. She then stopped her vehicle in the 1500 block, just short of the intersection of Williams Street, with Stoneburner stopping behind her.
Murray exited her vehicle to confront Stoneburner, who also exited his vehicle with his firearm pointed at Murray.
The confrontation ended with Stoneburner discharging multiple rounds, striking Murray multiple times. Murray was later transported via Copperas Cove EMS to the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center emergency room in Temple with non-life threatening wounds.
Based on the DPS’s current findings, Wilson said that a complaint and warrant were issued to charge Stoneburner with aggravated assault - serious bodily injury/use of a deadly weapon.
“As a department, we cannot support Mr. Stoneburner’s decision to use deadly force in the moment and manner in which he did,” Wilson said. “The law, and our Department policies, limit the use of deadly force to situations when an officer reasonably believes that he or a third person are in imminent and immediate danger of death or serious bodily injury. Because the facts we have do not show that to be true, we agree with the decision made by the Department of Public Safety. We have worked hard to build legitimacy and trust within our community and will work just as hard to rebuild any trust lost as a result of this event. We hope that our citizens do not judge us based solely on this incident but instead on how we handled this event. We will continue to do so based on the true facts. We ask that our citizens judge us on how we perform our duties each day with high standards, and a commitment to compliance with the law and procedural justice.”
Wilson declined to label the incident as a road rage incident but said the incident did start from the interaction of two vehicles.
Wilson did confirm that Stoneburner had his granddaughter in the vehicle with him. Her age has not been released but is determined to be a minor. Murray was in her vehicle alone.
Wilson said that he wanted to assure citizens who have concerns about crime after the shooting that the department has “individuals that come to work every day and put their heart and soul into everything they do, and they're going to do their absolute best to provide that protection that they're seeking.”
The shooting incident has made national news, with outlets such as Newsweek and the New York Post picking up the story during a time when relationships between law enforcement and the public are strained throughout the nation. Wilson said he invited people to come talk to his officers and department and formulate an opinion outside of an enforcement interaction.
“We have human beings here, just like everyone everywhere else,” Wilson said.
While the Texas Rangers conduct the criminal investigation, Wilson said the Copperas Cove Police Department is also conducting its own internal investigation to determine whether any internal policies were violated.