Two women arrested Monday after a confrontation with a Fort Worth code compliance officer may have thought the officer was going to shut off their water, a city official said Tuesday.
The officer, a 17-year-veteran of the code compliance department, was investigating a garbage complaint next door to a duplex in the 3200 block of Ross Avenue in north Fort Worth on Monday afternoon, Code Compliance Director Brandon Bennett told the Star-Telegram.
On Monday, Fort Worth police reported that two women came out of the residence, started yelling at the officer and then attacked her with a shovel. The code compliance officer pulled her pocketknife to defend herself, police said.
On Tuesday, police identified the two women as Kathy Guerrero, 17, and Angela Guerrero, 18.
Because the code compliance officer couldn’t get out of the situation and wait for a police officer for help, she had to act fast, Bennett said.
“The officer felt the use of a pocketknife was reasonable, and she only used force necessary,” Bennett said. “She didn’t stab the person in the stomach; she didn’t stab the person in the leg.”
Kathy Guerrero faces a charge of assault on a public servant, a third-degree felony, police said. She was hospitalized with minor injuries, officials said.
Angela Guerrero remained in Mansfield Jail Tuesday night facing a charge of aggravated assault on a public servant after she “used a shovel to hit the code officer,” said officer Daniel Segura, a Fort Worth police spokesman.
Her bail was set at $25,000.
The code compliance officer was treated for bruises and scratches.
She is resting at home and will be given the option to work a different route, Bennett said.
Investigators were told that the women who attacked the officer may have thought she was with the water department and was there to turn the water off.
“If they thought the officer was turning the water off, that might have been part of their anger,” Bennett said.
Under department rules, code compliance officers may carry small pocketknives but not guns, Tasers or pepper spray, Bennett said. About a month ago, code enforcement employees started asking if they could carry pepper spray, he said.
Department officials are looking into that, but it wouldn’t be pleasant for employees because part of the training would require them to be sprayed themselves, Bennett said.
Court records state that Angela Guerrero took a plea deal in June 2015 for the aggravated assault of a woman who was seriously injured after Guerrero “punched” or “kicked” her,” according to a criminal complaint filed in the 297th District Court.
The plea agreement dropped her charge from a second-degree felony to a Class A misdemeanor charge of assault causing bodily injury. She was sentenced to 180 days in the Tarrant County Jail.