Fatal shooting of armed assault suspect by Fort Worth police sparks protests

Fort Worth police said an officer fatally shot an armed man Sunday afternoon following a chase on East Berry Street, marking the fourth officer-involved shooting in the city this month.

The 20-year-old man who was killed, whose name has not been released, was a suspect in an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

The incident began about 4 p.m. when officers were looking for the wanted man and saw him getting into a car with two other people, according to Sgt. Chris Daniels, a Fort Worth Police Department public information officer.

Officers tried to stop the car. The three people ran, and officers chased them on foot, Daniels said.

Officers caught two of the people and took them into custody, he said.

The third man, who was the assault suspect, hid in a truck in the 5200 block of East Berry. When officers tried to get him out of the truck, he was “non-compliant” and shots were fired, Daniels said.

The man who was killed had a handgun, police said, but Daniels didn’t say whether he fired it.

An officer “rendered immediate first aid,” but the suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, Daniels said.

Daniels said he couldn’t comment on how many officers fired shots or how many officers were present at the time of the shooting. The shooting remains under investigation and only preliminary information is being released at this time, he said.

All of the suspects in the case are adults, Daniels said. No further details were released about their identities or possible charges.

Police officers remained on the scene of the shooting, near East Berry Street and Lauretta Drive, in southeast Fort Worth on Sunday evening.

Hundreds of people gathered at the scene to protest throughout the evening.

Protesters remained on the street after 10 p.m., more than six hours after the shooting. The crowd chanted, ”No justice, no peace!” and “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

One man was urging people in the crowd to attend Tuesday’s City Council meeting to demand transparency from police and ask the department to release body camera video of the shooting.

“The reason people are out here is because there’s no trust,” said Pastor Michael Bell, a leader at the protest. “If there was trust, then we could believe what the police say.

“There has been no trust between the Fort Worth Police Department and the African-American community for decades,” Bell said. “What you’re seeing now is citizens on this side of town who are fed up.”

District 5 City Councilwoman Gyna Bivens spoke to people in the crowd and promised there would be a thorough investigation of Sunday’s shooting.

“We are going to have to release the video as soon as possible,” Bivens said, “not as long as you see it usually being held.”

Debbie Walker, who described herself as a human rights activist, said the protesters want answers as soon as possible.

“What happens is when they’re not getting answers, you’re going to have a level of frustration that takes to the streets,” she said.

Carol Harrison-Lafayette, another activist, said people were taking to the streets because of the ongoing distrust the black community has for police.

“They are expressing themselves to let (police) know they are tired. No more killing. No more killing innocent people,” she said. “There needs to be proper training with the police department. The killing needs to stop. It’s all over the map. It’s becoming an epidemic.”

At about 10:30 p.m., police officers left the area. Remaining protesters dispersed, some of whom said a prayer with Walker before leaving.

Walker and others held their firsts in the air as she spoke.

“Right now I lift up this city,” she said. “Fort Worth Police Department took your life today. They took a life that you created today. They cut a life short today. They took away a young man’s future, Father, over nothing.”

This was the fourth officer-involved shooting incident and the second fatal shooting by police in Fort Worth since June 1.

On June 1, a SWAT officer fatally shot a man who police say had barricaded himself in his father’s house on Sixth Avenue after he pointed a rifle at officers. Cody Seals, 38, was shot when he came back out of the house holding an object in a “shooting stance,” police said. Police later determined the object was a flashlight.

On June 5, a Fort Worth police officer shot a burglary suspect he had been trying to handcuff when the man charged at the officer in the front yard of a house on the city’s south side, the police department said. Esteban Vasquez, 27, was shot in the upper torso and was in critical condition at a hospital, police said.

Also on June 5, an officer shot at murder suspect Martin Charles Wilson while trying to arrest him in the killing of his uncle James Wilson Sr. Martin Wilson was holding a cellphone while running toward officers but was pretending it was a gun because his cousin was shooting at him, police said.

The murder victim’s son was the other person who shot at Martin Wilson, police said. No one was injured, and both Martin Wilson and James Wilson Jr. were arrested, police said.

The police department’s standard procedure is for officers involved in shootings to be placed on administrative leave. Fort Worth Police Major Case detectives and the Internal Affairs unit investigate such shootings and submit their findings to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office for review once the investigation is complete.

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