Under Texas law, Stephen Bean’s criminal culpability in the fatal shooting of Ryan McMillan would be determined by a Denton County grand jury. On March 17, 2016, an assistant district attorney convened the 12-member panel at the county courthouse to consider the facts in the case. Barnes presented the evidence.

When the grand jury’s decision not to indict Bean was announced a week later by the Denton County District Attorney’s office, UNT issued an official statement in which it praised the grand jurors for confirming that Cpl. Bean’s actions were “necessary to protect the lives and safety of individuals in the area as well as his own life.”

UNT then declared that the campus police officer had not only “acted appropriately under the circumstances” but had also shown “commendable restraint before taking this action.”


Ryan McMillan’s survivors see things very differently. Bean, protested Walter McMillan, at least should have been charged with manslaughter.

The embittered Fort Worth father termed the university police officer’s decision to use lethal force against his son “insane.”

“How come campus cops do not use rubber bullets or bean bag shotguns?” in such situations, he demanded.

More than seven months after their son was shot to death, Walter McMillan and Gina McMillan-Weese are still haunted and mystified by the events of Dec. 13, 2015. No matter how many times they try to put the pieces of this deadly puzzle together, the picture remains ugly, distorted, not quite right, like a scene from a low-budget horror flick with gruesomely realistic special effects.

And, says the chief investigator in the case, the dead boy’s parents are not alone in their misery.

“You know, Gina,” Clair Barnes told McMillan-Weese shortly after the shooting, “you [and your family] are not the only ones who are grieving.”

McMillan-Weese believes the Ranger was referring to Cpl. Bean.

A few days after Ryan McMillan was shot, one resident posted a message on his blog that many Dentonites believe cuts right to the heart of the matter.

“Until our local law enforcement gets better training,” wrote Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, “maybe we should put up signs around the University of North Texas and the City of Denton warning people that any sort of breakdown could result in their execution.

“Though I doubt there will be any consequences for Cpl. Bean, the truth remains that he chose to kill Ryan McMillan and didn’t have to.”


Jonathan Agronsky is a veteran award-winning journalist and the author of three nonfiction books, including My Hollywood Adventure, published in 2014 by Buddha Dog Books.


  1. You asked the UNT president what the university might do to ensure students will be safe from future shootings by law officers? Only a hack journalist would ask such a question.

    A college student should know that if you’re wielding a weapon and approaching a law officer, and he tells you to stop, that the safest thing to do is to stop. UNT doesn’t need to put on a seminar about it.

  2. The cop and the kid both made a fatal mistake and it is a tragedy for the kid & the cop, parents, school, loved ones ……a heart-wrenching tragedy, that was undeserved by the cop or young man or the school or town. It is a heart wrenching tragedy, that’s it, nothing more, enough said. Stuff happens, the kid was an unlucky kid, the cop was an unlucky cop, the college and who knows who else are shattered and in morning,makes a normal man want to weap and hug his kids. You are a rat and a mullet Johnie boy and you are a lay-about, snot-rag, piss-ant with no value to this sweet country or humanity. The old devil has a death-grip on your stinking ass, and so it goes. You are on our government’s time downtown at our Fort Worth Couhouse while you torment this poor community. May God forgive you, I’m not that good of a guy. I maintain that black-hearted, Government snot-rags should do their work and shut their asinine yapper. I’m praying for you.