Fort Worth

Fort Worth police seek witnesses to downtown shooting

Ojos Locos bar at W. 5th and Houston Streets, where a Fort Worth Police bike officer shot a man who was brandishing a gun during an altercation early Friday, July 31, 2015.
Ojos Locos bar at W. 5th and Houston Streets, where a Fort Worth Police bike officer shot a man who was brandishing a gun during an altercation early Friday, July 31, 2015. Star-Telegram archives

Fort Worth police are seeking witnesses to the downtown shooting Friday by a Fort Worth police officer that left one man dead.

“There have been several accounts regarding this shooting circulating throughout social media that are not supported by available video and physical evidence collected by police,” the department stated on their Facebook page Monday morning.

“Investigators believe there are numerous individuals who witnessed all or part of this incident that could provide valuable information.”

The request comes one day after a lawyer for the family of Phillip Vallejo claimed several witnesses’ accounts of the shooting differ from that provided by police.

Vallejo of Kennedale was celebrating his 30th birthday at Ojos Locos on Thursday night into Friday morning, his family said, when he was killed by a bicycle officer.

Police said Vallejo refused commands to drop a gun and instead turned toward officers as they investigated an altercation outside the bar. But attorney David Cantu of Fort Worth said three to four witnesses who reached out to him over the weekend told him that Vallejo had his back to the bicycle officer when he was shot.

Cantu called the situation questionable because of uncertainty over where Vallejo was facing.

“The sergeant who gave a statement saying he was pointing a gun at people — if that was the case then I can understand,” Cantu told the Star-Telegram on Sunday night.

Asked about the lawyer’s statements, Fort Worth police said they didn’t have an update on the case Sunday night.

Cantu said he believes the shooting is an example of excessive use of force by an officer. He said he has requested copies of surveillance footage from Ojos Locos and nearby businesses.

“What I am just learning is that he had his hands up and he was shot with his hands up,” Cantu said. He said witnesses who were “in close proximity” told him so.

The unnamed veteran officer did not have a body camera, said officer Tamara Pena, a police spokeswoman. She said not all Fort Worth officers are equipped with cameras.

Police said the shooting took place at the bar at 515 Houston St. at about 1:30 a.m. Friday, when the bicycle patrol saw the altercation.

After Vallejo “turned and faced the officer as if to confront him with the weapon,” he was shot, Sgt. Steve Enright, a Fort Worth police spokesman, has said.

Vallejo was pronounced dead at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth at 2:16 a.m. He died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner.

Police have said a nearby camera captured the incident.

A manager at Ojos Locos said the bar already turned over surveillance footage captured at the front door of the sports bar but that it doesn’t show much.

Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792

Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST

Police seeking witnesses

Anyone who witnessed or has information about the downtown shooting early Friday that left Phillip Vallejo dead is asked to call major case detectives at 817-392-4455.

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