FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth police officers who were at the wrong home when they shot and killed an armed 72-year-old homeowner ended up there partly due to poor lighting, according to a search warrant released Wednesday.
Jerry Waller was in his garage shortly after midnight on May 28 when police shot him at least six times. He had gone out to investigate a noise and flashing lights, said his widow, Kathy.
Police were dispatched to the home across the street from Waller that morning because of a burglary alarm. The search warrant, granted hours after the shooting, says, “Due to poor lighting conditions and officers attempting to arrive on the scene undetected by potential criminials and the need for officer safety conditions, Officers Hanlon and Hoeppner inadvertently began searching 404 Havenwood Lane, directly across the street from 409 Havenwood Lane.”
The warrant says that officers approached the house knowing “there was a possible burglary in progress.” The warrant says, “There is no lighting around the home and the officers had only the use of their flashlights.”
It says when officers saw Waller in his garage with a handgun, they identified themselves and ordered him to drop the gun. The warrant continues, “The subject failed to comply and pointed the handgun at Officer Hoeppner and Officer Hoeppner fired on the subject fatally wounding him.”
Kathy Waller said that a corner floodlight on the house was out, but didn’t think it explained why her husband, who she said was just protecting his family, was shot. She still hasn’t moved anything in the garage from that night. An ‘X’ in chalk is still on the garage floor, just a few feet from the door to the kitchen, where she said Waller fell.
Both officers were put on administrative leave after the shooting. Police confirmed that they were back on full duty Wednesday.
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