Police identified Sgt. Hal Degenhardt as the officer who killed a Kerrville teen last week.
A 15-year veteran of the department, Degenhardt was the first responder on an incident that left Tommy Hranicky, 17, dead. Police said Hranicky refused to comply with orders to drop a knife, and when he moved toward Degenhardt, the officer was forced to fire his weapon.
In a prepared statement released on its Facebook page, Kerrville police said Degenhardt’s body-worn camera was operational, as was his in-vehicle camera.
After the shooting, Degenhardt was placed on administrative leave while the Texas Rangers conduct a criminal investigation. Police said once the investigation is complete, it will be sent to a grand jury for a review.
The Sept. 1 shooting death has sparked comments in the community about the use of force by law enforcement — sometimes stoking angry backlash from those supporting police.
Hranicky was a student at Tivy High School.
The incident was first reported on the afternoon of Sept. 1, when a witness called police to report a man walking in the 900 block Sidney Baker Street with a large knife. The witness, who has declined to be identified, said the man, who was identified as Hranicky, was exhibiting erratic behavior before being stopped by police.
In its social media post, Kerrville Police said Degenhardt gave Hranicky numerous verbal commands to stop and drop the knife, but the teen pressed forward.
“Degenhardt was forced to fire his duty weapon to protect himself,” the statement said.
An online fundraiser for Hranicky’s family had accrued $3,020 as of Monday. The fundraiser is at https://bit.ly/2lCqz2M.
“This is a tragic incident that affects the whole community,” said Kerrville Police Chief David Knight in a press release last week. “Our thoughts are with the officer, the family of the deceased and all who have been impacted by this event.”