Dash camera video released of fatal encounter between DPS troopers, SA murder suspect

Adrian Hardeman, 37, shot and killed after pulling gun on troopers

By Dillon Collier - Investigative Reporter

GONZALES COUNTY, Texas - State troopers shot and killed a San Antonio murder suspect in rural Gonzales County last June after they said on newly released dash camera video that he pulled out a handgun and entered a shooting position.

The incident footage released to the KSAT 12 Defenders shows the moments after Adrian Hardeman was shot June 5. In it, the troopers are heard describing what led to the fatal shooting and shows that they were unaware Hardeman, 37, was a suspect in a murder and kidnapping that happened hours earlier, 100 miles away in San Antonio.

Hardeman died on a private ranch shortly after he was involved in a rollover crash along U.S. Highway 90 Alternate, five miles east of Shiner.

He walked to the ranch after crashing his vehicle and was sitting under a tree near a farm shed, according to a witness who flagged down troopers at the crash scene about a quarter-mile away.

The body-worn microphone audio and footage was captured by dash cameras inside vehicles driven by a Texas Department of Public Safety sergeant and a trooper, who at first responded to the crash then drove to the gated ranch.

Two troopers approached Hardeman on foot, while the sergeant parked his unmarked vehicle 15 feet away.

The shooting itself occurred just off camera around 2:45 p.m.

The sound of eight gunshots was captured by the microphone worn by the sergeant, who was still parking when the two troopers opened fire.

"I think if we weren't running, he would have probably shot us," said one trooper.

The video shows a trooper demonstrate the one-knee shooting position he said Hardeman was in when the troopers fired at him.

DPS has not said what type of weapon Hardeman had, but a trooper states on the video that he believes it was an older model 9 mm handgun.

Hardeman did not fire his weapon, but it was cocked, troopers state during the footage.

"He didn't have time to react," said one trooper.

Hardeman died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to a custodial death report released weeks after his death.

Both the sergeant and trooper eventually moved their vehicles, showing Hardeman's body, and then turned off their body-worn microphones.

A paramedic responded to the ranch and worked on Hardeman, who was later pronounced dead at the scene.

A DPS spokesman declined to be interviewed for this story but confirmed earlier this year, that the DPS personnel involved in the fatal shooting were cleared of wrongdoing.

Hardeman's criminal history included eight arrests in Bexar County, including twice for evading arrest, and a felony conviction for marijuana possession, according to court records.

He was accused of shooting and killing his former girlfriend, 34-year-old April Russell, inside an apartment in the 2100 block of NE Loop 410 near Starcrest Drive just before noon on June 5, according to SAPD.

Hardeman then took the couple's 1-year-old child, police said at the time. The child was found alive an hour after the shooting at a home in the 4900 block of Wycliff Drive near Rigsby Avenue and Loop 410, according to SAPD.

An SAPD spokeswoman said last week that even though the department had identified Hardeman as a suspect shortly after the shooting and kidnapping, it had limited information about his vehicle, a black Mercedes-Benz, and no license plate number.

Minutes before the shooting, one trooper said that it appeared Hardeman may have had a baby with him since his vehicle had "a bunch of baby stuff in here."

Hardeman had no apparent ties to Gonzales County, and it remains unknown why he had fled there.

DPS released the footage following an open records request.

Web Extra: Dash camera video released of fatal encounter between DPS troopers, SA murder suspect

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