No charges will be filed against Alto police officer in death

James Griffin
James Griffin

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - A Cherokee County grand jury voted to "no bill" the case of an Alto police officer, meaning he will not face criminal charges in the shooting death of a man in January.

According to a press release, the grand jury reviewed physical evidence, witness statements, audio, video and photographic evidence involving the shooting death of James Eric Griffin, 48, of Alto. Texas Ranger Rudy Flores testified before the grand jury.

The grand jury then deliberated and voted to "no bill" the case.

The fatal shooting incident occurred on Jan. 23. According to DPS spokeswoman Jean Dark, Griffin attempted to rob the Pick N Go convenience store located at 100 S. Marcus St. Police Officer Brandon Michael Smith confronted Griffin on Highway 69, where an exchange took place.

A clerk at the convenience store said Griffin started to leave the store with a pack of cigarettes that he hadn't purchased. When the clerk said, "Hey, man, what about the money," Griffin allegedly turned around, lifted up his shirt, and showed the clerk a long machete.

One witness at the scene, Emmanuel Milton, told KTRE he saw Smith shoot Griffin once and then several more times after he fell.

The City of Alto is in the middle of its own internal investigation to determine whether or not Smith said a racial slur in the days before he shot Griffin.

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