Amari Malone had been under homicide detectives’ scrutiny in connection with an early August west Fort Worth killing in which the victim was shot in a field at the end of a parking lot.
The detectives had been hoping to find the 18-year-old, learned on Wednesday he might be at an intersection in the Woodhaven neighborhood in east Fort Worth, and passed on his location to colleagues in another unit.
Special Response Team officers spotted Malone outside the Diamond Mini Mart at Boca Raton Boulevard and Oakland Hills Drive about 5:45 p.m.
“Hey man, let me talk to you for a second,” an officer said to Malone from inside a patrol car, according to video recorded by a camera the officer wore that the Police Department released on Thursday.
As officers chased him, Malone twisted and pointed a handgun at them.
In the next instant, four officers opened fire. Malone was hit by one round and he died at a hospital, police said.
The department on Thursday released video images of the seconds before Malone was shot recorded by cameras worn by some of officers who fired on him. Police also released a still image of the gun, lying in grass, that officers said Malone held.
“The loss of any life is tragic and is something we take seriously,” Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said at a press conference.
Ja’Waylon Gay, 24, was the victim in the homicide in which Malone was a person of interest, Kraus said. Gay was slain on Aug. 5 in the 3100 block of Las Vegas Trail. Malone was seen with a pistol at that scene, the interim chief said.
Two police officers heard the shots that killed Gay, who lived in Fort Worth. They approached a gas station and were directed by people in a parking lot toward a field at its south end, where they found Gay, according to a police report.
The Fort Worth Police Department’s release of body camera video is irregular in terms of senior command decisions on how much time passes after an officer-involved shooting occurs before it becomes public and whether recordings are released at all.
The swift release of video Thursday was intended to refute erroneous online accounts of the shooting, Kraus said.
“We were seeing posts that this individual was unarmed, that he had been shot multiple time in the back, that his involvement in the murder scene was that he had just been a witness to that,” he said. “We just wanted to clear up some of this stuff.”
Quick public access to body camera video will likely not become standard, the chief suggested.
“I would hope that we don’t expect this in the future,” Kraus said.
Investigations of Malone’s death by the police department’s major case and internal affairs units were underway on Thursday. The four officers who fired their guns were placed on paid administrative leave, a standard practice.
Malone’s shooting was the sixth time since June 1 that a Fort Worth police officer has shot a civilian. Five of those people died.