Llano County deputies used excessive force in shooting death of man: lawsuit

A Kingsland widow has filed a lawsuit alleging excessive use of force by Llano County sheriff's deputies in the shooting death of her husband.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, April 11, claims that two deputies used excessive force in the October 2022 shooting death of 40-year-old Justin Harrod. The suit claims that Harrod did not pose any imminent threat to the officers.

The lawsuit names the Llano County Sheriff's Office, Llano County, Sheriff Bill Blackburn, Deputy Byron Cervantez, and Officer Randy "Ty" Shaw as defendants.

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Justin Harrod with his wife

Early in the morning of Oct. 23, 2022, Harrod and his wife arrived home in Kingsland after going out dancing and drinking with friends.

The lawsuit says that Harrod went to retrieve his firearm after they arrived home, and that his wife heard what she believed to be a gunshot, and went to a neighbor's house to call the police, worried about her husband's safety.

The lawsuit says that Harrod had had a difficult time with his mental health that day, as it was the one-year anniversary of his father's death. The lawsuit says that his wife told the 911 operator that Harrod was threatening suicide.

Deputies arrived at approximately 6:05 a.m. to find Harrod asleep, lying on his stomach on the ground. Officers surrounded Harrod and drew their guns and tasers, pointing them at Harrod and waking him up, says the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that the deputies yelled and taunted Harrod, who was lying shirtless and face down on the ground. The suit claims his gun was under his body, but it was difficult for him to move.

The situation continued for 18 minutes, according to the lawsuit, before a deputy tased Harrod. The lawsuit says that two of the officers, Cervantez and Shaw, then shot him in the head and in the forearm with the intent to kill.


The lawsuit claims deputies did not give Harrod proper medical aid until he began to repeat "I'm dying."

The original press release from the Llano County Sheriff's Office says that Harrod died while being transported in an ambulance and that deputies had "immediately called for EMS and attempted to help Harrod until EMS arrived."

Harrod is survived by his wife, two children and two step-daughters.

The lawsuit claims that Cervantez and Shaw used excessive force against Harrod, that the Llano County Sheriff's Office failed to properly train their officers, and that Sheriff Blackburn acted with deliberate indifference in supervising his office and his deputies.

Harrod's widow, in the lawsuit, seeks a declaratory judgment that the actions of the Llano County deputies violated Harrod's 14th Amendment rights to Due Process and Equal Protection of the law.