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June 22, 2018

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New Henderson deputy police chief was investigated over fatal shooting

Texas cop was off-duty when he killed a man after party-bus outing

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Henderson Police

Thedrick Andres

Updated Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 | 8:25 p.m.

Henderson has tapped a 28-year law enforcement veteran from Texas as the Police Department’s second in command, tasked with overseeing field operations, city officials announced Friday.

Thedrick Andres — a recently retired lieutenant with the Arlington Police Department — in 2014 fatally shot a man outside a Duncanville, Texas, restaurant while he was a sergeant in an off-duty capacity, according to the Dallas Morning News and civil lawsuit documents. Andres maintained he acted in self-defense.

Andres was cleared by a Dallas County criminal investigation involving a grand jury the following year, and an internal investigation by Arlington police determined that he did not break the law or department policy, the newspaper reported.

A civil lawsuit filed by the decedent’s family in 2016 was dismissed last year, said Henderson officials, who on Friday night expressed full support of the hire.

Incoming Deputy Chief Andres will start Monday.

“Andres began his career as a corrections officer in 1990 and as a police officer in 1996, and he will bring more than 25 years of solid law enforcement experience to his new role at the Henderson Police Department,” Chief LaTesha Watson said in a news release.

Watson, who was appointed police chief last year and also came from Arlington, said she worked closely with Andres in East Texas.

“I have seen firsthand his strong leadership skills and deep commitment to public safety, and I am confident he will be an exceptional addition to my command team,” Watson said.

In a statement, Andres said he was honored to be selected. “I look forward to working with the outstanding men and women of the Henderson Police Department and using my extensive law enforcement experience to build on the successes that have made our community such a safe place to call home,” he said.

About questions surrounding Andres’ past, Communications and Intergovernmental Relations Manager David Cherry said the following in an email statement: "Chief Watson and City of Henderson officials are all fully aware that (Andres) had been in an officer-involved shooting during a confrontation in which he believed his life was being threatened.”

“The new deputy chief begins his job with the complete confidence of Chief Watson who worked at the Arlington Police Department throughout the process that led to his name being cleared of any accusation of wrongdoing in conjunction with this act of self-defense," Cherry said.

The fatal encounter that claimed the life of Juan May, 45, occurred on June 22, 2014, at a restaurant parking lot, authorities told the Dallas Morning News. The criminal investigation was handled by the Dallas County sheriff’s office.

According to the civil lawsuit filed by May’s family against Andres and the Arlington Police Department in 2016, both men were part of a group on a party bus when an argument turned into a scuffle, which escalated into a fight between both men, plus another, before gunfire rang out.

The lawsuit alleged that Andres exited the bus and people yelled that he was going to get a gun, which prompted May to follow him. “Andres started yelling to Juan that he was a cop,” according to the lawsuit.

“After yelling he was a cop, Andres jumped in his car, bent down to get his gun, came up and yelled he was a cop, and shot Juan in the chest,” the lawsuit claimed. An official detailed account on what the police investigation determined was not immediately available Friday night.

About a week after the shooting, Andres’ attorney told the Star-Telegram newspaper that his client was injured during the bus ride and “was afraid he might suffer further injury.”

“Thedrick said he was in fear of his life and acted in self-defense,” the attorney told the paper.

Chief Watson said the department is also evaluating Henderson officers for “promotional opportunities,” including a second deputy chief position.

Previously, Andres worked for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections at the state penitentiary, where he was promoted to sergeant before moving to the New Orleans Police Department. He worked as a patrolman and in the narcotics and community-oriented policing divisions.

In 2005, he moved to the Arlington Police Department, where he was promoted to corporal and sergeant before he retired as a lieutenant.

Andres has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Southern University.

He has a wife and two children.