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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A police officer shot and killed an armed man after a disturbance early Friday at a restaurant in downtown Fort Worth. It happened at about 1:30 a.m. outside of the Ojos Locos Sports Cantina near the intersection of Fifth Street and Houston Street.
Police were patrolling the area on bicycle when they spotted two large groups involved in an altercation, including one man who was pointing a handgun at one of the groups. The man was ordered by officers to drop his weapon, but he did not listen, police said. Believing that the man was about to start shooting, one officer fired.
“He ordered the person to drop his weapon,” stated Sgt. Steve Enright with the Fort Worth Police Department. “When the person refused and he felt that involved a person shooting someone, he fired in defense of that person.” Police have not said how many shots were fired.
The man was struck and taken to a nearby hospital, but later pronounced dead. He has not yet been named by officials, however, family members identified him as Philip ‘Flip’ Vallejo. A relative said that he was at the downtown restaurant to celebrate his 30th birthday.
“I don’t have any information about the two groups,” Enright added on Friday morning. “It’s possible they came out of one of the establishments and got into an altercation.”
Brenda Villejo is the man’s wife, who was present during the shooting. She has strong allegations against the officer for killing her husband. “Why did you have to shoot him in the back five times?” she wondered.
The wife tells a very different story of what happened, saying that her husband went to get a cigarette. Before long, she heard officers shouting and telling him to get on the ground. Brenda Villejo insists that her husband was not holding a handgun. “He had his hands up and he was turned to him,” she said. “His back was towards the cop. He shot him.”
Police maintain that the man was facing the officer when he was shot.
The man’s family also wants to know why he was placed in handcuffs after being shot. Brenda Villejos recalled, “He was laying on the ground screaming, ‘I can’t breath.'”
“My kids are left without a daddy,” Brenda Villejos added. The couple has four children, ages 4 to 17.
The officer involved in this incident is a 23-year veteran with the department. His name has also not been released. He was not injured, and has now has been placed on routine administrative leave until an investigation is complete.
Investigators are still piecing together everything that happened. Cameras posted around downtown Fort Worth should shed more light on the shooting. Police will be looking at that footage on Friday, and talking to other witnesses.