Although they were dispatched to an address tagged as a “hazardous or dangerous location,” police officers who went inside the home Thursday evening had no warning that a shootout was imminent, police officials said Friday.
Sgt. S. Drake and another officer entered the house about 6:45 p.m. after the 75-year-old homeowner called dispatchers and said she was concerned that her adult son was locked in his bedroom and was not answering his door.
A body camera worn by the officer accompanying Drake captured the encounter and the ensuing shootout, police said Friday.
“The homeowner was calm,” Cpl. Tracey Knight, a police spokeswoman, said during a news briefing Friday. “All she needed was help to make sure that her son was OK. … According to her, he had some issues, and she was trying to make sure he was OK.”
Knight said both officers and the mother stood in the hallway and knocked on the bedroom door several times.
“At the homeowner’s request, they attempted to make entry into the room of the house and that’s when shots rang out,” Knight said. “It was basically a gunbattle.”
She said the video is “compelling and terrifying.”
After the shootout, the man who police had been trying to check on, Wendell King, 40, was dead, and Drake was shot in the abdomen and hand.
Drake remained hospitalized Friday after undergoing surgery Thursday night.
“We are hoping and praying for a full recovery,” Knight said.
Went to house twice
Police had been dispatched to the home in the 4800 block of Hildring Drive East twice Thursday night.
The first time, in response to a panic alarm at about 6:15 p.m., King’s mother told police that there was no problem and that she didn’t know why the alarm went off.
About 30 minutes later, she called police back to the home and asked them to check on her son.
Knight said the officers were automatically given a warning that the address was tagged as a hazardous or dangerous location.
“They knew it was a dangerous location; however, this was not a dangerous call,” Knight said. “Then, when they made contact with the homeowner, there were no alarms raised by the homeowner, the mom.
“It appears she just wanted to make sure her son was OK. We had no indication this was anything other than a welfare check.”
Though Knight could not say what the warning stated, call details accessible by the media Thursday night indicate that officers were given Wendell King’s name and birth date and were warned that he had previously been armed and had been involved in a hit-and-run in Benbrook in which he allegedly shot at another vehicle.
The warning stems from a May 2013 wreck on Lakeside Drive in Benbrook in which three witnesses reported that a man driving a pickup — later traced to King — fired at another vehicle.
King was arrested June 3, 2013, on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, but the case was suspended after none of the witnesses could pick him out of a lineup, Benbrook police said Friday.
Knight said the video shows that the officers did everything they were supposed to.
“Officers handled themselves amazingly — absolutely amazingly,” she said. “Their training kicked in.”
Knight said that after Drake was shot twice and went down, the second officer returned fire while summoning help for Drake.
“He was screaming at other officers that were in the hallway ... to try to get Sgt. Drake out of the location while he’s actually in a gunbattle with the suspect in his room,” Knight said.
After the shootout, Knight said, the officers immediately treated Drake with a tactical medical kit that several officers carry in their patrol cars.
“As I understand it, that may have saved Sgt. Drake’s life,” Knight said.
Knight also praised Fort Worth firefighters and MedStar paramedics who arrived a short time later.
“Without all those people working together, this might have been a very different outcome,” she said.
Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655