Three Waco police officers and a McLennan County sheriff’s detective were cleared by a McLennan County grand jury after the officers shot and killed a career criminal after a high-speed chase earlier this month.
The Waco Police Department reported Wednesday that the grand jury had cleared 20-year veteran Sgt. Scott Holt, 10-year veteran officer Michael Bucher and nine-year veteran officer Joshua McCuistion of wrongdoing.
The officers have been on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a Texas Rangers investigation and the grand jury decision, as is customary in this type of investigation, officials said.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said seven-year veteran Det. Joseph Scaramucci also was cleared by the grand jury and has returned to work.
Police began the vehicle pursuit Feb. 4 during an investigation into a series of aggravated store robberies in which Jimmy Ray Robinson Jr., 51, of Waco, was the primary suspect, police said. According to state records, Robinson had an extensive list of past convictions.
A Waco police news release Wednesday reported that the chase reached speeds of up to 95 mph while Robinson fled southbound on Interstate 35 in a green Ford Explorer. It included Robinson driving backward at a high rate of speed on the interstate service road. Previous police reports had indicated the fastest speed was 80 mph.
Robinson reportedly drove into a ditch at mile marker 323 near Lorena after officers attempted to spike the SUV’s tires.
McNamara previously told the Tribune-Herald, “When our guys and Waco PD surrounded him, he did show a weapon and pointed it at the officers and so they had to use their weapons to protect themselves.”
Officials retrieved a handgun at the scene.
Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman said in a statement, “Our officers and the officers from the surrounding agencies acted in a professional manner and reacted to a deadly force threat by the suspect, who acted with utter disregard for the safety and security of our local communities.
“We are thankful for the hard work of the Texas Rangers and the McLennan County grand jury in their review of this case.”
Department of Public Safety Trooper D.L. Wilson said the Texas Rangers are wrapping up their investigation. He said he did not know how many shots were fired during the incident.
Among the store robberies attributed to Robinson was one that attracted attention on social media after the robber took Honey Buns and deodorant as well as demanding cash from a clerk at a Bellmead Family Dollar store.
Robinson had served time in Texas prisons for multiple convictions out of Harris and Bell counties, including for aggravated robbery, theft and burglary, according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice records. He was first convicted in 1990 and most recently paroled in June 2013. McLennan County Jail records show he also was arrested Jan. 13 on a theft charge.