Texas state troopers have been safely bringing vehicle chases to an end by using their weapons, says the New York Times. Suspects who have led the police on chases through multiple counties have been apprehended after state troopers pulled up close enough to shoot the tires. The practice has led to fatal errors. Last month, a Department of Public Safety helicopter began pursuing a pickup truck suspected of carrying drugs near the border. A tactical flight officer on the helicopter fired multiple times into the vehicle in an attempt to shoot the tires. He shot one of the tires, but other shots struck illegal immigrants from Guatemala hiding in the bed of the truck under a dark blanket. Two men in the back of truck were killed, and a third was injured. No drugs were found in the truck, and no shots were fired from the vehicle.
The Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting, and officials with the Department of Public Safety, the state's top law enforcement agency, have requested that the FBI and the civil rights division of the Department of Justice conduct their own investigation. Officials with the Department of Public Safety said in a statement that they were reviewing all related policies, but they defended the officer in the helicopter.