Fort Worth

Tarrant County Jail inmate choked on towel

Larry Crowley, 52, of Fort Worth
Larry Crowley, 52, of Fort Worth Courtesy

The Tarrant County Jail inmate found dead in his cell early Thursday choked on a towel, the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office reported Friday.

Larry Crowley, 52, of Fort Worth was arrested Wednesday evening after his roommate accused him of shooting her. He was booked into the jail about 7:30 p.m. and was found dead about 4 a.m. Thursday, said Terry Grisham, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Crowley died from asphyxiation because his airway was obstructed by a towel, according to the medical examiner’s website. The manner of his death was not reported.

Almost every inmate, except for those on suicide watch, are given towels to maintain hygiene while they are in jail, Grisham said Friday night.

Crowley was placed in a single-occupant cell based on a mental health evaluation by MHMR Tarrant County personnel at the jail, Grisham said. The reason for that assessment was not available, he said.

An investigation into the death is continuing, he said.

Crowley was arrested in the 100 block of Syble Jean Drive in unincorporated southern Tarrant County after deputies responded about 5:30 p.m. to a shooting call.

“A female called 911 to report that a woman had been shot in the face by her roommate,” Grisham said. “The victim had walked to the home of her neighbor, who called 911.”

Deputies found the woman with a puncture wound in her cheek. She told deputies that she had been shot with a BB gun by her roommate, later identified as Crowley.

Deputies found Crowley at the residence, and he admitted shooting the woman, Grisham said.

Generally, the jail booking process takes three to four hours as officials collect fingerprints, take photos and run criminal background checks, Grisham said. Officials with MHMR Tarrant County and John Peter Smith Hospital also evaluate every inmate booked into the jail.

Grisham said he could not say how often Crowley was checked after he was placed in his cell “because it’s an ongoing investigation.”

Surveillance cameras are not in the cells, but they are near the cell doors to monitor inmates, Grisham said.

Cameras are in cells where an inmate is placed in a restraint chair, and those are monitored 24 hours a day, Grisham said. Crowley was not in a restraint chair.

Staff writers Domingo Ramirez Jr. and Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report.