Fort Worth officers are claiming in affidavits that they killed an innocent man, Jerry Waller, 72, after going to the wrong house on a burglary charge and mistook Jerry Waller, 72, in the poor lighting at 12:51 am. The incident is drawing criticism and calls for an independent investigation of the two rookie officers.
The home did not have outside lighting and the officers used flashlights to investigate. The encountered Waller near the corner of his garage. The officers insist that they declared themselves to be police and ordered Waller to drop his handgun. They say that he disobeyed their commands and pointed the gun at them. There is no record of Waller actually discharging the weapon.
Both officers have been with the Fort Worth Police Department for less than one year.
One discrepancy is that the officers said that they encountered Waller “at the back of his house near the garage and driveway.” Yet, the autopsy report says that Waller was shot in his garage. That is a significant difference since the chances that they are encountering a homeowner is higher inside the home.
Of course, the officers can argue that even a homeowner can be a threat to their lives if he is pointing a gun at them and not responding to police commands. The problem is that there are only three witnesses and Waller is dead. The only basis to challenge the account will be forensics if the trajectory of the bullet and location of the victim conflict with the sworn statement of the officers.
Source: Daily Mail
62 thoughts on “Fort Worth Police Shoot And Kill 72-Year-Old Man In His Home After Going To Wrong House On Burglary Call”
Ha! remind myself to read the (whole) blawg before I post- the case I linked to was treated in a different thread. Hmmm, ‘great minds…’ and all.
‘It was like a firing squad’: Deputies shoot Florida man in his own front yard”
“State law enforcement officials in Florida are investigating the shooting of a 60-year-old man inside his front yard by deputies with the sheriff’s office in Escambia County.
“It was like a firing squad,” the victim, Roy Middleton, told the Pensacola News Journal on Saturday. “Bullets were flying everywhere.”
OS, Thanks for the much needed balance.
yep,yep, i heard different but hey its the cops and like ed said let the testilying begin. good idea
Anyone who is interested in this topic would enjoy (well, probably not) reading the Cato Institute’s report Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America http://www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/overkill-rise-paramilitary-police-raids-america
and Radley Balko’s new book.
The militarization of our police is not some far-out conspiracy theory.
In related news:
Just checking … you do realize that the Duffel Blog is a satirical blog, much like The Onion??? And that this was not a factual story???
Let me give some perspective to people upthread who seem to think this was some kind of thrill killing, or attribute some other nefarious motive. I had a long conversation with an experienced police training officer this afternoon. We discussed this blog among other things. I had some theories, but asked for his opinion on incidents like that without telling him my take on it. I was not particularly surprised when his experiences and ideas coincided with mine.
He noted that all too many departments seek out young officers. They don’t have to pay them as much, for one thing. Some departments have had problems with returning combat veterans. Veterans are, for the most part, highly skilled with firearms, but as the training officer observed, they tend to be scared to death. Spending the past two years seeing the guy (or gal) standing next to you being shot or blown up with some frequency will do that to a kid. Talk to an old grey haired officer, and they will tell you they have taken their sidearm out of the holster maybe two or three times in twenty years. The rookie or n00b thinks they need to approach every stopped car as if it is full of fully armed Taliban. Some of them seem to think that police work is like a TV action drama. Or that day-to-day corrections work is like the series “Lock Up” on MSNBC. Its not. Those are training issues that all too many departments neglect. In fact, in some departments, training is all but non-existent.
It is thankless work for low pay, lousy hours, and risk. It is also a job that comes complete with nightmares. Try to forget the little kid who was ejected from his parent’s car when it flipped at a hundred miles an hour and smeared in a fifteen yard stripe on the pavement. Or the fifteen year old suicide hanging in the family garage. Or the decomposed body found by a fisherman. Those are a few of the benefits of being a police officer. And the pay? Starting salaries are, all too often, little more than minimum wage. After all, city and county governments are run by people who ran–and were elected–on a platform that taxes are evil and the equivalent of stealing from their constituents. Then they wonder why city and county services look more like a third world country than the US we used to know. Our own county sheriff had to sue the county commission to get enough money for such essentials as keeping the jail in operation and putting gas in the patrol cars. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. All too many local law enforcement agencies have had to sue their own city or county government for operating expenses.
Some departments are rotten from the top down. We saw a lot of that during the Occupy Wall Street protests around the country. NYPD squandered all the good will and sympathy they got following the 9-11 attacks.
Monday morning quarterbacking is easy. If you want to know what is going on and make a difference, do some volunteer work as a reserve officer for one of your local departments. Or get a job as a police or correctional officer. Or even run for office in your local government.
Cops are pathological liars when they are trying to cover up their mistakes.Don’.t believe their lies. Fire these two trigger happy rookie punks
What a terrible tragedy.
Why did the Fort Worth PD have two rookie officers responding to the call?
Why should I have to buy an expensive monitoring system when I can buy a gun and get shot by police while allegedly holding that gun?! I think Forth Worth should be digging deep in their pockets for this wrongful death.
Let the testilying begin.
“Here is a clear message for NRA. GUNS DON’T SAVE; at least not among a trigger happy group of people and officers in this country.”
Guns do save lives. We don’t know how often for certain, but we know it happens. I can match this anecdote with many going the opposite direction.
“Officers should be taught that guns can also maim and disable the attacker. They currently think guns are only for killing.”
Shooting to wound isn’t practical and creates its own problems. Television and movies are not good models for how people should use firearms.
People, People, People! They were two rookies. They just probably wanted to know what it’s like to shoot somebody. Now that they have it out of their system they can settle down and concentrate on just being cops.
Remember when police use to retire from the force after 25 or 30 years and say they never had to unholster their guns once? Those days are long gone.
1, July 29, 2013 at 9:22 am
There is something fundamentally wrong in the fact this tragedy, probably worse than a tragedy, is a completely different story if the dead person is Black as opposed to White. Or, frankly, Black as opposed to anything else.
Hell, if you live in The Cleve, the city should pay for the video surveillance in every residence. And as Blouise said, the technology is superb now and not very expensive. I’ve seen video surveillance from nascent stage to now. Much of the early technology came from the medical field and arthroscopic surgery.
“I’m beginning to think that it might not be a bad idea for homeowners to install video surveillance around their houses.” (Allysa J)
Installed mine a few years ago. Lots of excellent and inexpensive equipment out there from which to choose. As one of my prosecutor buddies told me … nothing beats “black ‘n whites”.
Also … last summer I heard strange noises late at night from the backyard. No need to go the the window or door or expose myself in any way … simply check the screen shots then call the cops. Turned out to be 2 drunk teenagers trying to find their way home. Camera caught one of them pissing in my rose garden. Parents came over the next day with young man to apologize. The agreed restitution … he had to shovel my driveway every time the snow fall was 2″ or more last winter. Security system paid for itself!
“shot inside his garage and the cops are trying to cover up with lies”
To be fair, they’re transparently clumsy lies. After all, they’re only rookies.
They’ll get better at lying after a few more years on the force.
1. I wouldn’t make much of the supposed discrepancy between the search warrant affidavit and the autopsy. The affidavit is not signed by the officers who responded so it’s not too surprising or unusual for it to be somewhat vague as to location.
2. I’d be shocked if this is a throw down gun. There’s been no suggestions from the family of such and they’d know if the victim owned a gun and whether the gun found was his.
3. Two rookie cops is an issue. I’d like to see how this came about. I wonder whether rookies tend to get the night shift.
4. Cops shot Waller multiple times in rapid succession. Police policy seems to be if you fire your weapon to keep shooting until the target is on the ground. However, in real life, it takes a second or two after shot to fall and the cops may shoot someone multiple times in the interlude. Before cops shifted to semi-automatics, it seems like cops fired a lot fewer bullets and not as quickly. Is shoot to kill always the best policy?
5. Cops at wrong house. How’d they screw that up?
6. Perhaps people who are suddenly awakened in the middle of the night, think there may be a burglary in progress, are blinded by high power flashlights in their eyes, and shouting from two unknown persons in their back yard don’t immediately recognize who is doing the shouting. I believe Waller had a gun and the cops identified themselves, but I’m not sure whether Waller ever understood or pointed his gun at cop. Cops need to recognize when their trespassing in someone’s back yard in the middle of the night that there’s a very good chance they’ll encounter the homeowner. I wonder whether the instructions/training of when to shoot need to be tighter. A guy with a gun who doesn’t immediately respond to your shouted instructions should not be reason to kill. Even if Waller did raise gun and point in general direction of a cop, I wonder whether should hold fire, back off/take cover, and continue to identify selves as police.
7. Too bad their is no home surveillance video. I’m beginning to think that it might not be a bad idea for homeowners to install video surveillance around their houses. Even if the guy had lived, I doubt a jury is going to believe his story over two cops, unless there was video evidence.
8. One of the rookies is a son of a FW police captain.
Isn’t clear that the police are a bunch of thugs? Their primary purpose is to intimidate all of us all the time. All government authorities want to intimidate all of us all the time. Obviously government authorities want to keep the police the way they are. Otherwise government authorities would clean up this terrible mess.
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