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Widow: Fort Worth Cops Were “Trigger Happy”

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Brian New
Brian joined the CBS 11 News team in 2013 after working a...
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - A widow is seeking answers after her husband was shot and killed on his own property by Fort Worth police officers early Tuesday morning. “I think the police made a terrible mistake,” said Kathy Waller.

She said that a loud noise and bright light woke up her and her husband, 73-year-old Jerry Waller, shortly after midnight on Tuesday. He grabbed a gun and headed to the garage, she said, where Jerry Waller was then shot by police officers who were investigating a burglar alarm.

Waller thinks that the officers reacted too quickly. “Somebody just got a little trigger happy, and away they go,” she said.

Cpl. Tracey Knight with the Fort Worth Police Department explained, “He was armed with a handgun and officers feared for their safety. They felt threatened, and that’s when they shot him.”

The burglar alarm was sounding in a neighborhood next to the Woodhaven Country Club in east Fort Worth. A spokesperson with the Fort Worth Police Department said that it is not clear why the two officers who responded to the call were at the Waller home — since it is across the street from the house where the alarm went off.

Knight said, “Officers did follow policies and procedures according to burglary alarm calls. Two officers were dispatched. Both were driving marked police cars. Both were in full police uniforms. They identified themselves as police officers. I don’t know what lead to this tragic event.”

Police said that a thorough investigation is now under way. “We remain committed to working with our residents and making this process efficient and transparent,” said Chief Jeff Halstead. Both officers involved have been placed on administrative leave. Both have been with the department for less than a year.

The burglar alarm that the officers were checking on ended up being a false alarm.

“I’m very disgusted,” said Waller. “I know not all policemen are like this, but it’s just disheartening for what happened to our family.”

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