Man shot, killed by Fort Worth police was 18 and a new father, lawyer and family say

The man fatally shot by Fort Worth police Wednesday was Amari Malone, an 18-year-old from Fort Worth who had a baby boy last week, according to his family and the attorney representing them.

Bonnell Juvi, Malone’s older brother, said he was with their mother and other family members on Thursday afternoon heading to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office to view the body. The medical examiner on Thursday confirmed Malone died, but didn’t immediately provide a cause of death.

Lee Merritt, a Dallas-based civil rights attorney, said he received a call from Malone’s mother on Wednesday and agreed to represent the family.

Police have said at least one officer shot Malone on Wednesday afternoon after Malone pointed a handgun toward officers. The officers approached Malone, who was a person of interest in a homicide case, and he pulled a handgun and ran, according to Sgt. Chris Daniels. Officers then reportedly chased him.

That’s when, Daniels said, Malone pointed his gun toward police, and at least one officer fired his weapon “in response to the threat.”

The shooting happened about 5:45 p.m. on Boca Raton Boulevard in the Woodhaven neighborhood in east Fort Worth.

Juvi, 24, said his brother — a Dunbar High School graduate — wasn’t known to carry a gun and he doesn’t believe he could have committed a homicide. Malone was “a young black kid getting his act together,” becoming a father last week, and police didn’t need to shoot him, Juvi said.

“Eventually, stuff like this has got to stop ... It’s just like an ongoing thing, like over and over and over. They keep pulling young people from out of the community,” Juvi said. “We want justice.”

Family members and Merritt are also concerned part of the public focus has shifted onto the police statement that Malone was a person of interest in a homicide.

“The crime that needs to be investigated right now,” Merritt said, “is the murder of an 18-year-old in Fort Worth.”

Loved ones of Malone were reeling Thursday in the wake of the fatal shooting, trying to understand how it had happened and mourning the loss of a young man. He was the youngest of five children, Juvi said.

Reached over email Thursday morning, police said they had no updates to share. But the department has scheduled a press conference for 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Merritt said he’s “reluctant to accept law enforcement’s account at face value.” He spoke over the phone with an official from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, he said, who reported Malone was shot once in the back. And two eyewitnesses to the shooting told him Malone was shot in the back while running away, Merritt said.

Police on Wednesday declined to say where on his body Malone was shot, saying the shooting is still under investigation.

Merritt said his eyewitnesses additionally reported hearing several shots and seeing someone in plain clothes involved in the shooting. Police, however, haven’t described the number of shots and said the officers involved were in uniforms.

Juvi found out about the shooting Wednesday evening and rushed to John Peter Smith Hospital, he said, but was told to go to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.

There, he saw around 60 police officers outside and at least 100 people waiting inside to see Malone, he said. He didn’t get a chance to see him.

The medical examiner reported Thursday that Malone died in Harris Hospital.

Police have yet to specify which homicide case Malone is considered a person of interest in. Daniels said the homicide occurred on the west side of the city within the past month.

Investigations into Wednesday’s fatal shooting led by the police department’s major case and internal affairs divisions are underway.

The shooting marked the sixth time since June 1 a Fort Worth police officer has shot a civilian. Five of those people died.

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