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Monday, June 3, 2013

Grandfather checking on his neighbor is shot and killed by Fort Worth police

A grandfather checking on his neighbor is shot and killed by Fort Worth police. The shots rang out early Tuesday morning near Woodhaven Country Club, in east Fort Worth.

Those close to the family say the victim lived nearby and heard his neighbor’s burglar alarm. Neighbor Jerry Wayne Waller then apparently went outside to see what was going on.

The 72-year-old man didn’t even make it to the house across the street before he was shot. He died on his own property.

The neighbors in the Woodhaven Country Club area and generally know each other pretty well. Becky Haskin, a former Fort Worth City Councilmember, lives in the area and said she believes Waller, “…was doing what neighbors do probably checking on the neighbor that the alarm went off.”

The elderly man, who was armed at the time, was shot and killed in his own driveway by police responding to a burglary call. “We heard five shots,” Haskin recalled. They were just rapid fire one after the other.”

Speaking on the incident Fort Worth police Cpl. Tracey Knight said, “Officers felt threatened by the man with the handgun and he was shot.”

After the shooting Haskin said, “The police officers were sobbing uncontrollably and very distraught.”

For the normally quiet and quant neighborhood, Waller’s death is devastating. Neighbors say he and his family have always been very involved in the community. “They are just a nice retired couple, that loved working in their yard, having family over, and grandkids,” Haskin said.

CBS 11 News has been trying to get more answers from Fort Worth police. The official response has primarily been that the shooting is “an ongoing investigation.”

CBS 11 has learned that the two officers involved were not hurt and have been placed on administrative leave.

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead released the following statement regarding the shooting:

“The events that took place the early morning hours on May 28th will require a significant amount of investigative effort; however, we remain committed to working with our residents and making this process efficient and transparent.

I ask for your patience, your understanding, and most importantly, your prayers for all involved.”  


1 comment:

  1. Our thoughts a prayers go out to the Grandpa and his family. This was a horrific and tragic mistake.

    Checking on your neighbor (and going armed) is not illegal. In fact it is something that I would *hope* that everyone would do - looking out for the safety of their neighbor. But it can be understandably dangerous.

    Despite the high number of false alarms, police responding to a burglar alarm except to see a burglar. And when they see a man with a handgun in the vicinity of the alarm, I can understand why they might have gone into "get the perp" mode.

    That said, I think it goes without saying that they handled this incident *completely wrong*. Gross negligence at the minimum. We don't know what grandpa did (if anything at all) to appear "threatening" to these officers, but I suspect it was just being there.

    These officers should be suspended without pay until this is fully investigated. Other officers need to learn from this.

    My first questions would be (1) What specific actions made the officers feel threatened (2) how experienced or new on the force were these officers (3) What de-escalation actions did the officers take before firing?

    Unless he was brandishing and threatening the officers, and refused to drop the weapon, there was no reason for the officers to pull the trigger.

    Anyone (officer or not) who is "Gung-ho" to "go out and get the bad guy" has no reason to be carrying a gun at all. Caution, reason, tactics and training should prevail at all times.

    Note to self: If you're going to check on the neighbors, call the police first so the officers expect to see you there, carry concealed until needed, wear body armor if you've got it, and ID yourself to officers as soon as they are on scene .