Austin Cop Involved in Fatal Shooting Retires While Investigation Ongoing
Criminal inquiry continues, but internal investigation closed
By Jordan Smith, 6:35PM, Tue. Oct. 22
Austin Police Detective Charles Kleinert, who fatally shot Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr., this summer, has resigned his position with the APD amid an internal investigation into the shooting. Kleinert's move will secure his pension and foreclose the internal inquiry that could have led to his termination.
A criminal inquiry into the matter is still ongoing, however, according to an APD press release.
Kleinert shot Jackson in the back of the neck during an alleged altercation near Shoal Creek in Central Austin in July, that began with Jackson acting strangely outside a bank that had been robbed earlier that day – though not by Jackson – and involved Kleinert's commandeering a civilian car to chase Jackson (who'd left the bank), an encounter that a source familiar with the situation told us was disturbing. Kleinert, the source said, was enraged and out of control when he demanded that the civilian drive him around as he searched for Jackson.
Kleinert's decision to resign – and, reportedly, to buy from the city of Austin extra time credit that would get him to his 23-year eligibility for retirement* – has ended an outstanding Internal Affairs investigation into his conduct that day that could ultimately have ended in his untimely termination. (It also precludes release of any IA documents related to that investigation, that would have become public if Kleinert had remained on the force long enough to receive any discipline in connection with the shooting.)
Whether Kleinert should be charged criminally for his actions that day remains a question for a Travis County grand jury.
*A previous version of this post reported that Kleinert would use sick and vacation credits to buy the time needed to get him to his retirement. That is incorrect and would not have been allowed. Instead, Kleinert will use time from a former civilian position with the city to get him to the time needed in order to secure retirement benefits. We regret the error.