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Protests grow over beating death at Denny’s

ON WEDNESDAY, PROTESTORS INCLUDING THE HERNANDEZ FAMILY MARCHED in downtown Houston, holding a rally on the stops of the Harris County Criminal Courts building. They were demanding “Justice for Johnny” and criminal charges against his assailant, Terry Thompson. Late in the day, the DA’s office announced that they would refer the case to the Grand Jury for possible charges and indictment.

Protesters demonstrated last Tuesday, in front of the Denny’s restaurant on Sheldon Road in Channelview where a man was beaten and choked so badly that he later died. The demonstrators were making the point that the man Terry Thompson, 41, who beat a Denny’s patron, and who is the husband of Shauna Thompson, a Sheriff ’s deputy, should be charged with a crime, perhaps murder, and so far has not been. A small flowered memorial, with a sign saying #JusticeforJohnny was placed at the site.

Last Sunday night John Hernandez, 24, the victim, and his family had entered the restaurant, but he went outdoors and reportedly was urinating, when Thompson arrived with his three daughters. He confronted Hernandez and told him to stop.

What followed was a fight, with Thompson on top of Hernandez, choking him and not stopping when other patrons tried to intervene. The assailant’s wife, who was an off-duty Sheriff ’s deputy, arrived at that point and helped her husband restrain the man. At that point they both saw that Hernandez had stopped resisting, lay motionless and was not breathing.

The deputy then began CPR until an EMS unit arrived and transported him to LBJ hospital.

The family reported to the media that Hernandez had died Wednesday night May 31st at the hospital, when they removed life support.

The Sheriff ’s office is investigating the incident including surveillance video from the restaurant, and cellphone video of the fight itself taken by a citizen observer.

It is not clear from the video who started the fight, but the deputy’s husband was seen with an ice bag on his face later.

The Sheriff ’s office has issued several statements about the incident, as follows:

(Harris County, TX) the Harris County Sheriff ’s Office is investigating an incident that occurred at 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, 2017, in a restaurant parking lot in the 17700 block of the Crosby Freeway in east Harris County.

The Sheriff issued an update Tuesday, as follows: The Harris County Sheriff ’s Office on Tuesday presented the Harris County District Attorney’s Office with the findings of an investigation into the May 28 altercation between John Hernandez, 24, and the husband of an off-duty Harris County sheriff’s deputy.

Hernandez died following the altercation, and the preliminary findings of an autopsy were released on Tuesday, concluding the investigation.

The deputy on Tuesday was placed on administrative duty indefinitely.

Anyone with information regarding the case, who has not already been contacted by investigators, is urged to contact the Sheriff ’s Office Homicide Division at 713-274-9100.