Crime

‘Look. It’s Wendell’s truck. He’s dead. It’s over.’

A June 2013 mughshot of Wendell King taken following his arrest by Benbrook police on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. King was fatally shot by Fort Worth police Thursday night after opening fire on officers, seriously injuring a sergeant.
A June 2013 mughshot of Wendell King taken following his arrest by Benbrook police on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. King was fatally shot by Fort Worth police Thursday night after opening fire on officers, seriously injuring a sergeant. Courtesy

Daniel Massey and his sister felt mixed emotions when they learned that Wendell King had been shot and killed Thursday night by Fort Worth police.

Sadness that a Fort Worth sergeant was shot and seriously wounded during the confrontation with King.

Sympathy for King’s 75-year-old mother, whom Massey described as the “sweetest woman I’ve ever met in my life.”

Relief that the man whom they say stalked and harassed their family for years was finally gone.

“When I looked on the news, I immediately recognized his truck in the driveway,” Massey’s sister said Friday.

“I called my husband over and said, ‘Look. It’s Wendell’s truck. He’s dead. It’s over.’ ”

The shooting occurred shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday after officers went to King’s home to conduct a welfare check on the 40-year-old man. King’s mother told dispatchers that her son was locked inside his bedroom, not making any noise, and that she feared he might have a medical emergency, according to police call details.

But as officers went to check, police say King opened fire, striking Sgt. S. Drake in the lower abdomen, and prompting officers to return fire.

King was pronounced dead at the scene.

Drake underwent surgery and remained hospitalized Friday. Cpl. Tracey Knight, a police spokeswoman said the department is praying he makes a full recovery.

‘He fixated on that’

Though King had no criminal convictions in Tarrant County, Massey and his sister said he was far from a law-abiding citizen and had caused both their families to live in fear for the last several years.

It began in 2008, they say, when King allegedly began stalking Massey’s niece, then 16.

Massey’s sister said King was a regular customer at a Luby’s restaurant where her oldest daughter worked as a waitress. She said King’s obsession with her daughter seemed to start after he asked her about a ring she was wearing with the words “True Love Wait.”

“He asked her, ‘What does that mean?’” said the sister, whom the Star-Telegram is not identifying because she fears for her safety. “She said it means I made a commitment to God to be pure until I’m married. He fixated on that for some reason.”

The sister said King later left a $5 bill along with with a business card on her daughter’s car, writing on the back “You need to call me.” Another time, he asked the teen on a date, she said.

“She had told him he was too old for her. She said, ‘You’re old enough to be my dad. That’s just too weird for me.’”

In April 2009, the girl and her boyfriend began getting strange texts from an unknown number and reported it to Fort Worth police.

The person sending the text would provide details about what the girl had been doing that day, indicating that the person had been following her. The person texting also relayed other things he knew about the couple — including names of co-workers, her grandparent’s address, her driver’s license and Social Security number.

Adding to their concern was that both the teens had recently had their cars vandalized, according to a police report.

“She had no idea who it was coming from,” the teen’s mother said. “Obviously, she was scared. … We just had no clue how he was getting some of this information.”

The mother said police investigated but determined that the texts were coming from a pre-paid phone, so the sender could not be traced.

But the woman said the family began to suspect King was behind the texts after someone vandalized the women’s restroom at a Sonic where her daughter had previously worked and where the teen’s boyfriend still worked.

“He wrote her name all over the walls. He wrote what college she planned to go to. He wrote she was cheating on her boyfriend with this co-worker. Just crazy stuff,” the teen’s mother said.

The mother said because her daughter’s name was used in the vandalism, Sonic asked the teen to view a video of the suspect entering and leaving the bathroom to see if she recognized the man. The teen and her younger sister, who also worked at the Luby’s, watched the video together.

“That’s how we figured out who it was,” the mother said. “My youngest daughter said, ‘That’s Wendell from Luby’s.’ She [the oldest daughter] said, ‘Oh my God. It is!’”

The mother said that although Sonic turned the video and information over to police, King was never arrested.

‘He’s a Google master’

Concerned for his niece, Massey — after spotting King near his sister’s home — said he followed King and confronted him at a gas station parking lot.

He said King denied knowing what Massey talking about, then drove away, flipping Massey the finger.

“After that, he turned his anger toward me,” Massey said.

Massey said his car then began getting vandalized.

He said he continued to confront King whenever he caught the man near his or his sister’s homes at which time King began tossing out personal details about Massey, like the name of his ex-wife.

“He’s a Google master,” Massey said. “He is extremely smart. I’ve talked to him face to face a dozen times. He was a very sharp individual.”

Massey’s sister installed a surveillance video system at her family’s Fort Worth house and Massey, who also had a surveillance system, began strategically placing guns around his home for his wife to have access to when he was away on weekends.

“This is how we all had to live because of this guy,” Massey said.

On Jan. 16, 2012, Massey said he was sitting on his living room couch when someone kicked open his front door — an act caught on surveillance video.

“On video you didn’t get a clear picture of his face,” Massey said. “It shows him coming up to the door, kicking in the door and turning around and running. He’s running and his long hair is flying everywhere on video so you didn’t get a clear picture of his face.”

But Massey said he followed the intruder out, watching as the man jumped into his pickup and getting the license plate, which he said was later traced by police to King. Still, Massey said, the Fort Worth detective handling the case said that wasn’t enough evidence for an arrest.

Frustrated that police weren’t going to do anything, Massey said he later went to King’s house.

“I talked to his mother. He wouldn’t come to the door,” Massey said. “She is the sweetest woman I’ve ever met in my life. I can’t believe someone like him is her spawn. She was very empathetic and apologetic. She said, ‘I’m so sorry. I don’t know why he would do this.’”

Massey’s sister said she is frustrated that King was never held accountable for his actions.

“They [police investigators] said that when he crossed a line, then they could do something, but until he crossed that line, there was nothing they could do,” she said. “I said, ‘Do you mean he has to actually hurt my daughter?’ Really? It’s just frustrating.”

Cpl. Knight declined Friday to talk about previous police department cases involving King, citing the ongoing investigation.

For Massey and his sister, knowing that King is now dead is a comfort.

“It’s sad and it could have been prevented if they had just done something,” Massey’s sister said. “But I literally slept all night last night for the first time in six or seven years. I’m glad it’s over. It’s unfortunate how it happened, and I’m really sad that a police officer got shot.”

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655

Twitter: @deannaboyd

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