Reporting Robbie Owens
FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Police in Fort Worth are investigating a “complex incident” involving an officer who shot and killed a man in a car that had three children inside. This fatal altercation took place Monday night near a gas station along Cravens Road, after the officer tried to perform a routine traffic stop.
According to a release, undercover officers were in the area looking for a man involved in drug trafficking. The release says that this “information was based on citizen complaints, officer observations and the individual’s criminal history,” which includes arrests for possessing weapons and narcotics.
The police located and stopped the car. During the traffic stop, police said, it was determined that the driver, 32-year-old Charal Thomas, had four existing warrants. He was told that he was being placed under arrest. According to Sgt. Pedro Criado with the Fort Worth Police Department, the driver then said that he would not go to jail and locked the car.
The release says the responding officer reached in the window to unlock the car when Thomas rolled the window up, trapping the officer’s arm. Thomas, according to police, continued to drive toward the freeway with the officer dangling from the car.
“The officer was able to place his feet on the driver’s side running board, unholster his service weapon and order the driver to stop. The driver refused to stop. The officer believed that, at the speed they were now traveling, he would have been run over and killed if he did not immediately stop the driver. The officer aimed his weapon at the driver and shot the driver several times,” the release states.
Thomas was pronounced dead at an area hospital. The officer involved in this incident is recovering at a local hospital. Fort Worth Police Department officials are not answering further questions about the incident.
Police said the passenger, 46-year-old Cordell Davis, jumped out of the SUV into a nearby lawn. Officers quickly arrested him for outstanding warrants.
“I thought I heard maybe 35 shots,” Davis said. “The glass was hitting me in the face; if I didn’t jump out or fall out I feel I would’ve been shot and killed too.”
There were also three children inside of the car at the time of the shooting – ages 11, 8 and 7. None of those kids were hurt. They were released to family members after questioning.
Meanwhile, as reports of the shooting started to spread throughout the neighborhood, police officers and community members related greatly differing accounts.
“The police shot him and killed him,” Cliff Sparks said, repeating the story that he had heard. “He had his kids in the car.”
Those who knew Thomas were stunned by his death.
“He wouldn’t harm anybody, so I don’t know why he lost his life tonight,” said Mike Jefferson. “He’s a good guy. And it just don’t make no sense, the way Fort Worth Police Department handle us around here. It don’t make no sense at all.”
On Tuesday, more than 100 friends and family members gathered at a memorial where the shooting happened. They prayed and demanded justice, saying that the officer should not have opened fire because there were children inside.
“They didn’t have to kill my dad with us in the car, they should’ve let him drive the car and take us to the house and do what they have to do,” said Deslond Gordwin, Thomas’ 11-year-old daughter who was in the car at the time.
The investigation is ongoing, police said. It will include a detailed search of the SUV.
“I couldn’t believe they were shooting at us like that with the kids in the vehicle,” Davis said. “If I wouldn’t have fallen out, I would have been dead.”
The release adds, “according to the officer, he was aware of the children in the back seat and the passenger and, fearing for his life, aimed his weapon at the driver in order to stop him.”