Fort Worth Police Kill 72-Year-Old Grandfather Jerry Waller while Responding to Neighbor’s Burglar Alarm
Police in Forth Worth, Texas responding to a burglar alarm shot and killed a 72-year-old grandfather in the garage of his own home.
Jerry Waller was awakened early Tuesday morning by a commotion outside the garage of his home near Woodhaven Country Club in East Fort Worth. He grabbed his .38 revolver and went out to his garage to investigate.
Unbeknownst to Waller, Fort Worth police were in the process of responding to a burglar alarm that was set off in a home across the street from his. Exactly what happened next remains unclear. What is clear is that one or two officers shot Waller six times, killing him either in his driveway or inside his garage.
The burglar alarm turned out to be a false alarm.
Forth Worth Police spokeswoman Cpl. Tracey Knight disclosed few details to reporters but said that the two officers who shot Waller “felt threatened.” Both officers were rookies and according to the Dallas Observer were “sobbing uncontrollably and very distraught over the shooting.”
“This is a terrible tragedy for everyone,” Knight said. “A family has lost a loved one and a police officer has gone through a critical incident that no officer wishes for. Our hearts go out to the family of the homeowner as well as the officer and his family.”
Chris Waller, Jerry’s son, disputes the police version of events.
“My father never stepped out of his garage,” he told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. “He was shot multiple times in the chest only a few steps from the doorway to his kitchen.”
Kathy Waller, Jerry’s widow, called the officers who shot her husband “trigger-happy.”
“Married 46 years, and then somebody gets a little trigger-happy and away they go,” she told WFAA. “He is 72. Why just shoot him?”
“He would give you the shirt off his back, and he was loving,” Kathy added. “He was a wonderful husband. I miss him dearly.”
Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead said that his department is investigating the deadly shooting incident.
“We remain committed to working with our residents and making this process efficient and transparent,” Halstead said in a statement.
Both officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.