A grand jury indicted a Harris County Sheriff’s Office sergeant on a first-degree murder charge Thursday in the death of Roderick Brooks following a brief foot pursuit last year.
Sgt. Garrett Hardin shot and killed Brooks in July 2022 during a struggle in which the 47-year-old shoplifting suspect appeared to grab and release the sergeant’s Taser. Body camera footage released by the sheriff’s office shows Hardin shot Brooks in the back of the neck area as he lay face-down on the ground. The location of the Taser at the moment Hardin fires is not visible in the video.
The pursuit followed a Dollar General store employee reporting Brooks in northern Harris County.
The indictment marks a rare murder charge against a Harris County law enforcement officer who killed a civilian while on-duty. Hardin, a nearly two-decade veteran of the sheriff’s office, faces five to 99 years in prison if convicted.
Brooks’ family lauded the indictment, which followed repeated calls by relatives for criminal charges against Hardin.
“After waiting over a year for this case to go to a grand jury, the family is relieved that the journey for justice on behalf of Roderick Brooks has begun,” Brooks’ family said in a statement. The family described Hardin as a “rogue cop who used his badge and gun under the color of law to murder Roderick Brooks.”
In an interview, Brooks’ sister, Demetria Brooks Glaze, called the indictment a “blessing.”
“Now we can go back to Roderick’s graveside (and say), ‘We told you we were not gonna stop,’” Brooks Glaze said. “We were raised to fight for family.”
Brooks Glaze added that the family recently lost another member — her brother, Wendell Brooks — to gun violence in Houston last week.
Hardin’s lawyer, Justin Keiter, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Thursday afternoon. Keiter told ABC13 last year that Hardin was “well within his rights and will be exonerated,” adding that the sergeant’s actions were “necessary for his safety, and that of others.”
David Cuevas, president of the Harris County Deputies’ Organization, referred a request for comment to Keiter.
Hardin has been on administrative duty since the shooting, said Jason Spencer, a spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Now, the sheriff’s Administrative Disciplinary Committee will review the evidence gathered by an internal affairs investigation and determine what disciplinary actions should be taken.
Sadiyah Evangelista-Karriem, a lawyer representing Brooks’ family, said her clients were “most appreciative” of the district attorney’s office for pursuing the case. In this instance, “justice delayed was not justice denied,” Evangelista-Karriem said.
“We’re most appreciative of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office,” Evangelista-Karriem said. “Although it may have been a lengthy process to get this case through the grand jury, the district attorney’s office wanted to make sure that they were very thorough in their investigation and presenting (the case) to the grand jury so that the family could get (an indictment).”
The decision to issue an indictment in the case comes one week after a separate Harris County grand jury declined to indict Houston Police Department Officer Shane Privette in the April 2022 fatal shooting of Jalen Randle. The lack of indictment frustrated Randle’s relatives, who questioned whether prosecutors aggressively pursued charges.
Brooks’ family, which is also involved in a pending civil suit against Hardin and the sheriff’s office, is now bracing for the remainder of the judicial process.
“I would like for the cop to never be an officer again,” said Brooks Glaze. “I would like for him to be prosecuted and go to jail and spend the time.”
In the future, Brooks Glaze said she hoped her brother’s name would “ring” and serve as inspiration for families coping with similar situations. She said she hoped to become further involved as an advocate in the criminal justice system so that “people like us don’t give up.”
“If we as the Brooks family can help others, we want to help others,” she said. “This is heartbreaking. We’re broken.”