Texas DPS reverses course on allowing shooting from helicopters

Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM) State Response Activation Exercise
Image: Texas Military Forces/flickr

Four months after a helicopter-borne Texas Department of Public Safety trooper mistakenly shot and killed two immigrants in the back of a fleeing pickup near the Mexican border, the agency has banned shooting from helicopters in similar scenarios.

DPS Director Steve McCraw told members of the Texas House Appropriations Committee on Thursday that the move wasn’t spurred by the shooting, which is under review by the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s office and federal agencies, including the FBI.

“This is not a reflection on what happened there,” McCraw said. “I’m a firm believer they did exactly what they thought they needed to do.”

But he added, “I’m convinced now that from a helicopter platform we shouldn’t shoot unless being shot at or if someone (else) is being shot at.”

Read the rest of Brenda Bell and Jeremy Schwartz’s report at American-Statesman