The Texas Dept of Public Safety has announced that state troopers will no longer be permitted to shoot from helicopters unless they're being fired on.
DPS Director Steve McCraw announced the ban while taking questions on the deaths of two Guatemalan immigrants in 2012. "I'm convinced that now, from a helicopter platform, that we shouldn't shoot unless being shot at, or unless someone is being shot at," he said. But he insisted the policy change had nothing to do with the immigrants' deaths, which occurred when airborne troopers fired on their pickup near La Joya at the US-Mexico border.
McCraw defended the shooting on the grounds that the truck was nearing a school zone, and troopers suspected it was transporting drugs. Prosecutors are still investigating.
In a later email, the Texas DPS clarified that "a suspect's driving behavior including aggressive or reckless driving to evade arrest" does not warrant "a firearms discharge from an aircraft."
Texas was formerly unique among Southwestern states in allowing such aerial fire.