Chief Garcia Criticizes Justice System After Family’s Murder

Dallas Police headquarters | Image by Dorti / Shutterstock

The head of Dallas police had some harsh words for the way the justice system handles violent criminals after five members of a family were shot, four of whom died.

Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia recently suggested that the quadruple murder committed last weekend was not only preventable but also largely the fault of a flawed criminal justice system.

“Our victims could very well be alive today if we had accountability for violent criminals,” Garcia said in an interview with WFAA.

Garcia also took to social media, posting similar remarks on X in reaction to the shooting in which a mother, her parents, and her toddler were killed by a man who had been previously arrested for threatening to shoot them.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Dallas police officers were dispatched to a home in the 9700 block of Royce Drive after receiving reports of a shooting on December 3. They found Vanessa De la Cruz and her parents, Karina and Jose Lopez, already dead. A 1-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl were rushed to the hospital with gunshot wounds, but only the girl survived.

The mass shooting occurred in Council Member Tennell Atkins’ District 8.

The accused shooter, 21-year-old Byron Carillo, lived next door to the victims and had been wearing an ankle monitor at the time of the murders. He allegedly removed it after the shooting and headed south. He was intercepted by police on I-35 near Austin and, after crashing his vehicle, ended up shooting himself in the head, according to the police report.

“I don’t know how many times I need to say this that ankle monitors don’t work on violent criminals,” said Garcia, who was a vocal supporter of HB 3549, which would have made tampering, damaging, or disconnecting an ankle monitor a felony offense if enacted.

Last year, Garcia commissioned an analysis of the effects of the bail reform championed by Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot. Data from 2021 revealed that roughly 56% of suspects accused of violent crimes or weapons violations were released on bail or their own recognizance, and nearly 25% of them ended up arrested again.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, Creuzot has been criticized for purportedly being “soft on crime.”

With regards to Carillo, Garcia explained in the WFAA interview that the suspect was first outfitted with an ankle monitor when he posted a bond of $50,000 after reportedly threatening to shoot De La Cruz and her father in August 2021. Dallas police conducted a lethality study at the time, during which De La Cruz told officers that she believed the suspect would kill her and that he had easy access to weapons.

This July, Carillo allegedly pistol-whipped De La Cruz’s boyfriend and repeated his death threats. A judge set Carillo’s bail at $100,000, and he posted it once again, donning an ankle monitor and continuing to reside next to his victims. The district attorney’s office had passed on advancing Carillo’s case to trial 18 times, claiming that a plea deal had been in the works at the time of the murder-suicide, according to WFAA.

“This was a violent criminal,” Garcia said in regards to Carillo. “We did not take care of our domestic violence survivor … and I’m furious about it.”

Garcia has waged a targeted campaign against violent crime in the city of Dallas that focuses on allocating police resources to crime hot spots. However, these efforts have been hindered by a longstanding officer shortage within the Dallas Police Department, which has only around 3,000 officers in its ranks despite a prior City analysis recommending some 4,000 or so.

As a result, not only is Downtown Dallas seeing considerably higher rates of crime than Fort Worth’s city center, which is patrolled by a designated police unit alongside private security guards, but the murder rate continues to climb citywide. A total of 229 murders have been reported so far this year, according to the City of Dallas crime analytics dashboard. This represents a rise of 12.3% compared to last year.

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