It has been a painful few months since their son was shot and wounded by a Fort Worth police officer.
When the parents of Craigory Adams would leave their house, they often walked past the blood stained pavement where the shooting occurred last June.
Family members say they have waited patiently for police to wrap up their investigation and give them answers. And they say they will continue to wait, to let the criminal justice system run its course.
Adams was carrying a barbecue fork and had dropped to his knees when shot by Officer Courtney Johnson, who apparently thought the 11-inch fork was a knife. Police have said that the shooting was unintentional.
Last week, Johnson was indicted by a Tarrant County grand jury on a charge of aggravated assault by a public servant, a first-degree felony. He is accused of injuring Adams, 55, by recklessly handling his shotgun during an encounter between the two early in the morning on June 23.
We’d like to be able to respect the police because their job is hard.
Kenneth Finley, family spokesman.
The family’s attorney, David Patin, said in the midst of all the uncertainty and the pain, Adams’ parents, Early Adams, 85, and Jeannette, have been patient and as humble as they could be.
“We’d like to be able to respect the police because their job is hard,” said Kenneth Finley, Adams’ cousin and a family spokesman. “And they are supposed to protect and serve and that’s what we’d like to have from them. However, we’d also like to have a situation where we’re respected as citizens. We want to be able to call them when we’re in need. That’s what they’re there for.”
Adams continues to undergo rehab for his injury, but family members declined to say where he was living right now.
Family respects court system
In a news conference last week, Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said he does not believe that race played a role in the shooting and said there is no evidence that Johnson used a racial slur, as Adams' relatives have said.
Johnson is white and Adams is black.
Finley said the family will let the courts determine what happened — and what was said.
Finley said the release of information from authorities has been slow. and that it took more than nine months to release video of the shooting incident, Adams’ relatives said.
“We want to make sure it was indeed an accident,” Finley said.
He used to use that barbecue fork to scare away animals that would come up to our front door.
Early Adams, victim’s father
Also, the family has inquired among their neighbors as to whether anyone nearby had called police reporting a prowler with a knife, and so far, no one has admitted that to them, Finley said.
“He used to use that barbecue fork to scare away animals that would come up to our front door,” his father, Early Adams said. “He kept it on the porch.”
‘It was an accident’
Fitzgerald played the dash cam video of the shooting at the Wednesday news conference, saying it's important to be transparent and that he wants the public to draw their own conclusions.
"Given the current national environment, we must now work even harder to maintain our reputation as a fair and impartial Police Department. In the truest spirit of transparency, we have released the dash cam video of this incident with the hope that everyone reserves final judgment until the adjudication of this case in court, " Fitzgerald said.
Fort Worth officer Courtney Johnson was indicted by a Tarrant County grand jury on a charge of aggravated assault by a public servant, a first-degree felony
Johnson, who has been placed on restricted duty, is accused in the two-count indictment of taking his gun off safety and sliding the pump action back, then forward as it was pointed toward Adams. The shotgun then fired, hitting Adams in the arm.
Johnson's lawyer, Jim Lane, has said he was shocked by the indictment and called the shooting the result of an “unintentional discharge. ... just pure and simple, it was an accident."
Fitzgerald said that for the gun to discharge, Johnson must have pulled the trigger or the weapon had a flaw.
“Do we feel as if there was a flaw here? I can't say at this time,” Fitzgerald said. “All I can say is that the grand jury decided to indict him.”
This story includes material from Star-Telegram archives