Pastor, others demand transparency from Fort Worth police at vigil
A woman whose boyfriend was killed by Fort Worth police as they tried to arrest him Sunday said she was driving when officers pulled her over. She said her boyfriend and the other passenger in the car ran away as soon as officers approached them.
Her boyfriend, JaQuavion Slaton, 20, of Grambling, Louisiana, was fatally shot by officers as he hid in a truck in the 5200 block of East Berry Street about 4 p.m., according to witnesses and police.
“They ran. I surrendered. The police did not tell me that he had died until midnight,” Slaton’s girlfriend, 26-year-old Raya Arzu, said during a prayer vigil for Slaton’s family Monday night. “I just want justice for him.”
Police said Monday that Slaton had a handgun and there is evidence that he fired it. Officers were trying to arrest him on an aggravated assault warrant when the shooting occurred.
Officers gave Slaton numerous commands and he did not comply, police said. As officers tried to break the glass on the truck where he was hiding, Slaton “made an overt action placing the officers in fear for their lives,” police said in a press release Monday. Three officers shot at Slaton and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Crime scene investigators found a handgun inside the truck, and evidence supports that Slaton fired the gun, according to the press release. Police will test the gun to verify “that the evidence located is from the gun collected,” the press release said.
Arzu spoke to pastors and members of the public during a prayer vigil held Monday at New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church.
“They didn’t have to kill him like that,” she said.
Arzu and Slaton met about a year and four months ago, and their son is 4 months old, she said. Slaton’s mother is in the hospital with an aneurysm, Arzu said.
University of Texas at Tyler police were looking for Slaton in connection with an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon warrant and posted on social media seeking the public’s help finding him.
In the police Facebook post, Slaton was referred to as armed and dangerous.
The aggravated assault involved a handgun and was reported on April 28. Neither Slaton nor the victim ever attended the school, but the apartment complex where the assault allegedly occurred is on university property, said Lucas Roebuck, UT Tyler police spokesman.
Police on the Tyler campus had communicated with police in Fort Worth concerning the warrant for Slaton’s arrest, Roebuck said.
Slaton was in contact with investigators in Tyler concerning the alleged assault, according to Rev. Kyev Tatum, who organized Monday’s vigil.
Tatum, pastor of New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church, said running and having a gun does not justify the use of deadly force.
‘The police have encountered people who have run from them before and people who are armed before and not shot them,” Tatum said. “They were not in fear for their lives because if they were in fear for their lives, they would have used time and distance. If they would say they did not fear for their lives and that a mistake was made, people in the community would be willing to work with them and the waters would immediately calm.”
Tatum called for police to release body camera video of the shooting.
“If police are going to be our friends and work with us, tell us the truth, and the way you tell the truth is release the body cam,” he said.
The shooting caused protests in the neighborhood Sunday night. Hundreds of people marched on the street and chanted at cops, who blocked off a portion of the street.
Slaton’s death marked the fourth officer-involved shooting incident in Fort Worth this month.
The three officers who fired their guns at Slaton have been employed by the Fort Worth Police Department for five, seven and 10 years. All three were placed on administrative leave while the Major Case Unit and Internal Affairs Unit investigate, as is standard practice. Their findings will be forwarded to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office for grand jury review upon conclusion of the investigations.
Additionally, the Major Case Unit asks any additional witnesses who may have information to contact them at 817-392-4455.
The other passenger in the car, 17-year-old Jevon Monroe of Louisiana, ran but then followed officers’ orders when they found him hiding under a vehicle, police said. Monroe was arrested and is charged with evading arrest. He also was wanted on a burglary warrant in Louisiana, police said.
Arzu was not arrested and is not facing charges, police said.