When Henry Magee heard people burst into his Texas home before 6 a.m. on a Thursday morning in December, he grabbed his rifle, came face to face with an armed man, shot, and killed him.
It was only later that Magee found out that the man was Sgt. Adam Sowders, an investigator with the Burleson County Sheriff’s Department who was there serving a search warrant for drugs.
Now, seven weeks after the shooting, Magee has been cleared by a grand jury of all charges related to the detective’s death.
“This was a terrible tragedy that a deputy sheriff was killed, but Hank Magee believed that he and his pregnant girlfriend were being robbed,” said Magee’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin Thursday.
“He did what a lot of people would have done. He defended himself and his girlfriend and his home,” continued DeGuerin. “When awakened by a loud boom and somebody’s kicking in the door, they defend themselves.”
The sheriff’s office had been granted a no-announcement warrant, popularly referred to as a ‘no-knock’ warrant. These rare orders are granted to allow law enforcement to enter into a suspect’s space without first knocking and announcing their presence to preserve the tactical advantage of surprise.
These types of warrants have been plagued by controversy in recent years. According to the Cato Institute, 40 bystanders have been killed since the early 1980s in no-knock warrants gone wrong.
The warrant, according to an earlier story, had been issued on a tip from a police informant who had just been arrested.