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Published on April 17, 2024
Texas Woman Sues Llano County Deputies, Alleging Husband's Fatal Shooting was 'Execution'Source: Google Street View

A Texas woman is suing Llano County sheriff’s deputies over the fatal shooting of her husband in 2022. Jillian Harrod alleges that her husband, Justin Harrod, was "executed" by law enforcement on his property following her call seeking help for his mental health crisis. The incident, which took place on the morning of Oct. 22, 2022, is now under scrutiny as bodycam footage has been released to the public.

The CBS Austin reports that the lawsuit filed by the widow contends that the deputies "unnecessarily escalated the situation" when they found Justin Harrod lying on his stomach in his front yard, apparently asleep and armed with a gun. Despite his confusion upon being awoken by deputies, the officers allegedly deployed a taser and then shot him immediately after, failing to provide clear instructions.

Bodycam video obtained by the KVUE Defenders shows the deputies opening fire after Justin Harrod, distressed, exclaimed, "I’m having the worst night of my life, and y’all just want to [expletive] shoot somebody?” The lawsuit asserts that he did not present an immediate threat, as he was lying down and the gun was underneath him.

Austin attorney Austin Kaplan, representing the Harrod family, voiced the concern that such incidents dissuade people from seeking police assistance during mental health emergencies. "This case just shows what a disaster it can be when police are not property trained and they don’t do the right thing," Kaplan told KVUE. The suit does not request specific damages, but emphasizes the pursuit of justice for Justin Harrod and aims to better protect the community during similar situations.

Llano County officials have not commented on the lawsuit. Justin Harrod was remembered as a heavy equipment operator turned Lower Colorado River Authority surveyor who enjoyed playing the banjo and piano and was the father of two children. The deputies involved in the shooting have yet to publicly respond to the allegations made in the pending lawsuit.