A 37-year-old man critically wounded Tuesday afternoon after a traffic stop has died at a hospital, according to a family member and the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Police reported that a White Settlement officer had shot David Najera on Tuesday after he refused to put down his handgun, but the medical examiner’s office issued a ruling that Najera died from a gunshot wound to the neck and ruled his death a suicide.
“We don’t have any answers to what happened,” said Isabell Chagoya of Fort Worth as she sobbed Thursday in a telephone interview. Najera was her uncle. “This story doesn’t make sense. There were four markers on the ground near him after the shooting, indicating there were four casings.”
If the medical examiner ruled that her uncle committed suicide, why did police shoot at him? Chagoya asked.
“Yes, there were reports of him holding a gun to his head,” Chagoya said of her uncle. “We just don’t have all the answers.”
An investigation into the shooting, led by the Texas Rangers, continued Thursday.
“The Texas Rangers have been asked to investigate an officer involved shooting,” Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Lonny Haschel said in a Thursday email. The Texas Rangers are a division of the Texas DPS. “The investigation is ongoing and no additional information is currently available.”
Najera was pronounced dead at 1:29 p.m. Tuesday at a hospital, shortly after he was shot, according to the medical examiner’s office.
But White Settlement police did not say that Najera had died at a news conference held Tuesday afternoon or in a news release issued Wednesday.
The Wednesday news release identified him and said that he had suffered serious injuries. It also said he was a resident of Fort Worth, but the medical examiner’s office and his relatives say he lived in White Settlement.
White Settlement police referred all questions on Najera’s death to the Texas Rangers.
Police did not identify the officer involved in the shooting except to say that the officer was on administrative leave according to departmental policy.
According to police, Najera was shot Tuesday afternoon after he refused to drop his handgun when he was stopped by a White Settlement marshal on Meadow Park Drive.
The incident began about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday when the marshal conducted a traffic stop on a red Ford pickup in the 100 block of Saddle Road.
Najera stepped out of the truck after being asked to by the marshal. The marshal had learned that Najera had multiple outstanding warrants, but police have not provided any details about them.
During questioning, Najera looked a little upset, White Settlement police Lt. Tim Denison said in the news conference Tuesday afternoon. At some point, Najera went to his truck, got out a gun and put the gun to his head, then got back in his truck and drove off.
There was a 15-minute pursuit through the streets of White Settlement and the west side of Fort Worth that ended on Meadow Park Drive, police said.
Speeds during the pursuit reached approximately 45 mph.
The marshal reported he could see Najera holding the handgun to his neck as authorities pursued him. White Settlement patrol officers assisted in the marshal in the pursuit.
The pickup stopped in the 600 block of Meadow Park Drive in White Settlement.
Najera got out of the pickup still holding the handgun and was ordered to drop it, police said. He was still holding the gun to his head, Denison said, when the officer shot him because he did not drop the gun.
The Wednesday news release did not say anything about Najera shooting himself.
Officers began performing life-saving measures on Najera until emergency medical personnel arrived.