Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Grand Jury Indicts Officer

On Friday, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced the indictment of a Conroe officer on three charges in connection with the July 31 death of a shoplifting suspect during a physical altercation.

Sgt. Jason Blackwelder, a 9-year law enforcement veteran with an unblemished record, was off-duty when he went shopping at the Conroe Walmart and arrived to find to the store’s loss prevention employees in a foot chase with Russell Rios. The sergeant attempted to assist the store employees in apprehending the fleeing suspect. The sergeant and Rios wound up in a wooded area and things became physical. The violent altercation ended when Blackwelder fired his handgun, striking Rios, who died at the scene.

A joint investigation was conducted by Conroe Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office who then pursued an indictment and presented the case to a Montgomery County Grand Jury.

That Grand Jury returned three indictments against Blackwelder, including Manslaughter (second-degree felony), Tampering with a Government Document (state jail felony) and False Report to a Police Officer (class A misdemeanor).

Conroe Police released a statement Friday afternoon stating Blackwelder has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case.

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