A former Mesquite police officer who shot a man twice in the back did not identify himself as a police officer moments before the November 2017 shooting, the victim testified Wednesday.
Lyndo Jones was sitting in his pickup in the parking lot of a Mesquite business that night when Officer Derick Wiley approached the car with his gun drawn and a flashlight pointed into the driver’s side window.
Within minutes, Wiley shot Jones twice in the back. After the shooting, Wiley said he believed Jones was a burglar.
Wiley, 36, is charged with aggravated assault by a public servant in the shooting, which seriously injured Jones. The trial began Tuesday.
Wiley was in uniform when he responded to a suspicious person call shortly before 7 p.m. Nov. 8, 2017, in the parking lot of a business in the 1300 block of South Town East Boulevard.
The business owner had called police after seeing Jones sitting in his own pickup with the alarm occasionally going off.
But the alarm was silenced when Wiley pulled up in his squad car, without its siren on or his police lights flashing.
In the initial reports on the shooting, it was unclear whether Jones was outside the truck with the alarm going off. Body-camera footage showed Jones sitting inside his truck when Wiley approached him. The vehicle’s alarm was off.
Jones testified that he didn’t know a police officer had pulled up behind his truck that night. All he saw were headlights and the light from a flashlight. He said that Wiley never said he was police officer.
“He told me, ‘I’m gonna [expletive] shoot you.’ I didn’t know who he was,” Jones said. “I ran. I was scared.”
Wiley ordered Jones to get out of the truck and get on the ground. Jones did. The cop also told Jones to put his hands behind his back. Jones did.
Once Jones was on the ground, Wiley put his knee on the man’s back and started to move to handcuff Jones.
But Jones said he felt pressure on his neck and asked what Wiley was doing. That’s when Jones rolled out from under Wiley and started to run away.
Jones was turning, holding his arms out in front of him and pleading, “Don’t shoot,” right before Wiley fired twice. The bullets hit Jones between his shoulder blades and in his lower back.
“I look at you and tell you, ‘Don’t shoot me,’ and you shoot me,” Jones said Wednesday.
Trial begins for former Mesquite cop who shot unarmed man he mistook for burglar
He said he remembered other people swarming around him after the shooting. The body-camera footage shows other officers arrive minutes later and handcuff Jones.
Jones spent nearly a week in the hospital recovering from his injuries. He said he had surgery to repair the bullet holes and has a surgical scar running up his stomach.
Mesquite police initially filed a charge of evading arrest or detention against Jones. The man was handcuffed to his hospital bed, and two officers were stationed in his room. Jones testified that he couldn’t even talk to his family during that time.
But the Mesquite Police Department dropped the misdemeanor charge after interviewing Jones. Wiley was fired from the Police Department several weeks after the shooting.
Jones said his back still hurts and he can’t work because of his injuries.
“Sitting right here in this chair, it hurts,” Jones told jurors.
During cross-examination of Jones, defense attorney Kathy Lowthorp questioned why he was in the parking lot before the shooting.
She also questioned Jones about his criminal history. Jones spent five years in prison for burglary of a building and harassment of a public servant.
Jones explained that he had missed his exit to go home in Mesquite the day of the shooting. He worked in Arlington at the time and usually got off work around 3:30 p.m.
He said he got lost when he took a different exit and then pulled into the parking lot. Jones said he smoked marijuana and used cocaine in his truck.
But Lowthorp questioned whether Jones had pulled into the parking lot because he was lost.
“Or was it because you wanted to pull over and do drugs?” she asked.
“No,” Jones responded.
She also asked whether Jones would know that he’s supposed to “cooperate with police” because he had been arrested before and had pleaded guilty to the harassment charge. He said he knew he was supposed to comply.