GRAND JURY INDICTS GREGG COUNTY MAN FOR ASSAULT OF A PEACEOFFICER, FINDS OFFICER’S USE OF DEADLY FORCE JUSTIFIED

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The Gregg County Grand Jury on Thursday absolved a former Gladewater Police Officer Jacob Lira in his use of deadly force and handed down an indictment on Matthew Murchison (30 years of age) of Gladewater for Assault of a Peace Officer.
The Gregg County Grand Jury on Thursday absolved a former Gladewater Police Officer Jacob Lira in his use of deadly force and handed down an indictment on Matthew Murchison (30 years of age) of Gladewater for Assault of a Peace Officer.
The offense occurred on November 4, 2018, when Gladewater Police Officers were dispatched to the 1500 block of N. Main St. in Gladewater in reference to a suicidal subject.
Upon arrival, Officers met with the suspect’s father who advised that his son was suicidal and under the influence of methamphetamine. During the initial encounter, Matthew Murchison fled from the location and Officer Lira circled around to Florence Street where he made contact with Murchison. As Officer Lira was attempting to get out of his patrol unit, Murchison reached into his waistband and subsequently brought his hands out of his waistband and took a shooting position in front of Officer Lira. In response to this split second and immediate threat upon his life, Officer Lira discharged his firearm striking Murchison in his right leg. Murchison continued to advance towards Officer Lira and subsequently bit Officer Lira, struck Officer Lira about the face and neck and also struck Officer Lira below his waistline.
After determining that Murchison was unarmed, Officer Lira reduced the level of force against Murchison in an attempt to take him into custody. Officer Lira attempted to use his Taser on Murchison to gain control of the combative subject; however, the Taser had no effect on Murchison. Once Murchison was finally restrained, Officer Lira immediately requested Emergency Medical personnel to respond to the location to care for Murchison’s non-life threatening injuries.
As with all officer-involved shootings, the Texas Rangers were contacted and conducted a thorough investigation into the incident. During the investigation, Matthew Murchison confessed to the Rangers that his intent was to commit “suicide by cop”. The Ranger’s findings were delivered to the office of the Gregg County District Attorney, which in turn presented the case to the Grand Jury on March 28, 2019.
The Grand Jury elected to indict Matthew Murchison for the offense of Assault of a Peace Officer and unanimously found that Officer Lira’s use of deadly force during this incident was justified. Officer Lira is currently a patrol officer for the Kilgore Police Department.
In commenting on the Grand Jury action, District Attorney Tom Watson said, “Officer Lira, along with all of our officers involved in this case, responded appropriately and should be commended for apprehending this suicidal and violent individual. This case is a prime example of the devastating impact that Methamphetamine is having in our communities. I am taking the Methamphetamine epidemic very seriously and have already instigated steps
within our county to combat those individuals who continually distribute this poison to our children and loved ones. ”

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