Watauga man says it’s a safe neighborhood
A woman who received an emergency protective order prohibiting a man from approaching her house was found dead by SWAT officers who searched that home on Monday.
Emily Law, 49, the woman who had been issued the order, had been allegedly choked by the Fort Worth man on April 17, five days before she was found dead, according to court documents. A ruling on her cause of death is pending, but police said it’s being investigated as a homicide.
James Freeman, 46, of Fort Worth, was shot and killed Monday by two Watauga police officers who went inside Law’s home, in the 6500 block of Wooddale Drive. Law’s daughter had called 911 after seeing Freeman at the house, police have said.
Freeman was seen close to a shotgun and the officers warned him not to reach for it, and when he did they shot him, said Lt. Jason Babcock, Watauga Police Department spokesman.
Freeman was served with the protective order on April 17, the same day a criminal complaint was filed against him alleging he assaulted Law, court documents show. The protective order restricted Freeman from coming within 500 feet of Law’s house or her job.
That order also prohibited Freeman from being in possession of a weapon.
People put a lot of responsibility on protective orders and they are an important part of the process, but they are not the entire part of the process, said Kathryn Jacob, SafeHaven of Tarrant County president and chief executive officer.
SafeHaven of Tarrant County is an organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and supporting domestic violence victims.
“What’s more important is the offender should not have had access to an illegally owned firearm,” Jacob said. “But there is no system that exists in Texas for him to be able to safely surrender his firearm.”
Texas lawmakers are considering a bill during this current session that if passed would require a person served with a protective order to surrender their firearms, and that would also require that communities make a plan to establish the infrastructure that would make that happen, Jacob said.
“This is not a gun control bill,” Jacob said. “This is a let’s enforce the current law bill. You’ve heard of good guys with guns. These guys are the bad guys with guns. “
Freeman had continued access to a firearm, and he should not have had that access, according to Jacob.
“We cannot rest a person’s mortality on a protective order,” Jacob said.
Victims of domestic violence can call SafeHaven’s domestic violence hotline at 877-701-7233 for help.