At around 4:40 p.m., a thief attempted to rob a local business of cigarettes and charged an officer in the 200 block of Highway 69 after leaving the store, according to officials. The DPS names the alleged thief as 48-year-old James Eric Griffin. The Alto police officer, identified by DPS as Brandon Michael Smith, then shot the man dead as he was being rushed. Smith has been placed on administrative leave. Officials say it is unknown if Griffin was in possession of a weapon when he died.
The Alto police chief says the Texas Rangers will continue investigating the shooting, with findings to be turned over to the district attorney. The body of the alleged robber has been sent to the Dallas Forensic Center for autopsy. The street was crowded with bystanders throughout the night, and the victim’s body was not removed from the roadway until around 7:30 p.m.