This past March, off duty Officer Marcus Justin Kacz of Pasadena PD became so enraged at being cut off while driving that he pursued the car and shot at the driver with at least three shots being fired. On the 26th, a jury found Kacz guilty of deadly conduct. His punishment? Probation, a fine of $400, community service, and an anger management course. A lenient punishment from a police force that is under heavy scrutiny for excessive use of force.
Pasadena officer guilty in road rage incident
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle
A jury found Pasadena Police Officer Marcus Justin Kacz guilty of deadly conduct when he shot his gun at a man in a road rage incident while off duty in March.
Harris County Court at Law No. 1 visiting Judge Jim Larkin on Wednesday sentenced Kacz to 18 months probation for the Class A misdemeanor. He will have to pay a $400 fine, attend anger management classes, do community service and undergo random urine tests.
“I think you made a big mistake and showed bad judgment,” Larkin said.
Kacz, 26, was in civilian clothes when he chased a driver who cut him off about 2 a.m. on Beltway 8 at Spencer, said prosecutor Joe Owmby.
When the driver stopped at a light, Kacz got out of his Nissan pickup and tapped his gun on the sideview mirror, then chased the sport utility vehicle to an apartment complex, where he fired the gun at least three times at a passenger.
Defense attorney Greg Cagle argued that Kacz followed the SUV because the driver was running red lights and driving dangerously.
“I’m disappointed with the verdict,” Cagle said, “but he’s a young, smart guy and we’ll appeal it.”
Pasadena Sgt. W. J. Fojt testified that it is against Pasadena Police Department policy for off-duty officers to pursue suspects. Fojt said investigators never asked Kacz to do a field sobriety test although he smelled of alcohol.
“The evidence was against him,” said Michael Dannenbaum, jury foreman. “He did not discharge the firearm to protect himself, and Pasadena’s policy prohibits off-duty officers from pursuing chases.”
Kacz is at least the fourth Pasadena officer prosecuted criminally since last year. His conviction comes at a time when Pasadena officers Jason W. Buckaloo and Christopher S. Jones are under investigation for their role in the July 21 homicide of Pedro Gonzales Jr.