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A Dallas police officer was kept at work for more than a year while authorities investigated whether he ordered the murder of two people, officials said.

Constable Bryan Riser, 36, was first identified as a person of interest in 2019 after a witness provided information, according to the former and current city police chiefs.

Rein room, who left the department at the end of 2020, said in a statement on Friday that Dallas Police Department detectives recommended not placing Riser on administrative leave “because it could jeopardize the case.”

His remarks followed Riser’s arrest on Thursday. He has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the murders of Lisa Saenz, 31, who was found shot dead in the Trinity River in March 2017, and Albert Douglas, 61, reported missing in February 2017 but whose body never found.

Riser was being held Friday on a $ 5 million bond after a court appearance Thursday night. Court records do not mention an attorney for Riser, who told the court he would hire one.

When Riser was first identified as a person of interest, police working alongside the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office determined there was not yet enough evidence to charge him, said Lobby.

Eddie Garcia, who became chief last month, said a witness told police in 2019 that they abducted and killed Saenz and Douglas on Riser’s instructions in separate attacks in 2017. At a press conference Thursday, Garcia said the two murders were linked to Riser’s “off-duty” life, adding that they “will examine the activity he carried out as a police officer”, including his arrest record.

Garcia did not explain why Riser was arrested nearly 20 months after the witness came forward, and police declined to answer the following questions at the time.

Three men were arrested and charged with the murder of Saenz: Kevin Kidd, 32; Emmanuel Kilpatrick, 34 years old; and Jermon Simmons, 38.

Kilpatrick is serving a life sentence for the murders of a father and son. Kidd and Simmons are jailed for murder carrying the death penalty for the murders of Saenz and the father and son. Simmons is also charged with another death.

One of the men accused of Saenz’s murder told police he and Riser were involved in burglaries when they were young, according to an affidavit for Riser’s arrest which does not identify the man by his last name.

More recently, Riser and the man allegedly devised a plan to rob the drug-hideout houses, but they did not follow through, according to the affidavit. Instead, the man told investigators Riser offered to pay him a total of $ 9,500 to kidnap and kill Douglas and later Saenz, the affidavit states.

The affidavit states that Riser told the hitman that Saenz was an ‘informant’, although he did not specify and that the police refused to answer questions on whether Saenz had any connection with the department. .

Riser joined the Dallas Police Department in August 2008 and has since been posted to the South Central Patrol Division, which includes the address near the Trinity River in Dallas where the murders allegedly took place, according to the affidavit .

Riser is on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. Garcia said his department would speed up the dismissal process.

The Associated Press contributed.

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