The man fatally shot by a police officer in front of The Gas Pipe late Tuesday ran to within 6 feet of the officer with a raised baseball bat and a screwdriver, Fort Worth Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead said Thursday in a news release.
Before he fired a single shot, officer E. Gasca of the west patrol division backed up more than 15 feet as the man closed in, Halstead said.
The shooting occurred about midnight outside the store at 6033 Camp Bowie Blvd. next to the Ridglea Theater.
A Gas Pipe clerk had called 911 to report a robbery in progress. When officers arrived, a second clerk left the store and told officers the man was inside.
Uniformed officers confronted the man as he left the store, police said, but he charged at them with the bat and screwdriver.
“The suspect was running directly at the officer and had the bat raised as if he was going to hit the officer on his head. The screwdriver was in the other hand,” Halstead said after reviewing three videos recorded by officers’ body cameras and a camera mounted on a police car.
“Two of these videos were from our ‘on-officer’ cameras and it reinforces our support for this technology to show exactly what the officer faced when making a life and death decision,” Halstead said.
Gasca fired a single shot to the man’s chest “to stop the threat, exactly as we train,” Halstead’s statement said.
The man was later pronounced dead at an area hospital. He will not be identified until the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office notifies his family.
Gasca was placed on administrative leave, as is routine, during the investigation. He was commissioned Dec. 13, 2013.
“Thankfully, they utilized their training, tactics, and excellent communication so they could stay safe and go home at the end of their shift,” Halstead said.
Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792