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Hays County Grand Jury Clears HCSO Deputy in Fatal Shooting

Hays County Criminal District Attorney Kelly Higgins announced today that a Hays County grand jury concluded its review of the Nov. 5, 2022, shooting incident involving Hays County Deputy Mohmmad Zaqzouq. The grand jury did not return an indictment in the matter.

On Nov. 5, 2022, two deputies from the Hays County Sheriff’s Office responded to an address in the 100 block of Victoria Court in the Belterra neighborhood, which is in north Hays County between Dripping Springs and Austin. The deputies were investigating a report that an intoxicated driver had crashed a vehicle and threatened a tow truck driver a few blocks away. The body-worn cameras of both deputies recorded the shooting and the events leading up to it.

The investigation showed that while speaking with the vehicle’s owner, Carol James, in the front yard of the residence, the deputies heard a female screaming inside the residence. Zaqzouq approached the front door in response to the screaming. As he approached the door, Ms. James said, “He’s got a knife.” Upon opening the door, Zaqzouq encountered 28-year-old John Samuel File, who was exiting the residence and moved toward the deputy with a large knife in his right hand.

Zaqzouq repeatedly shouted for File to show his hands while retreating away from the door and off the porch. Despite multiple commands, File continued moving toward the deputy with the knife. At that point, Zaqzouq fired his weapon striking File three times. Mr. File died at the scene. One bullet struck Ms. James, File’s grandmother, in the arm during the incident.

The Texas Rangers conducted the investigation into the shooting.  

Higgins said, “A grand jury is composed of twelve citizens from Hays County and serves as an independent voice of the community. The Hays County Criminal District Attorney’s Office presented the results of the investigation. After hearing the evidence, the grand jury determined that the conduct of the deputies was justified under the law and voted not to indict.”

He added, “This matter is now closed. We would like to thank the Texas Rangers for their prompt and thorough investigation.”

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Hays County