DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Rangers are investigating the death of Darius “DJ” Tarver, who was shot and killed by a Denton police officer on Jan. 21.
The incident, that led to the 23-year-old’s death started at around 3 a.m. at The Forum at Denton Station apartments after residents called 911 about a man banging on doors and yelling for someone to let him in. They also reported that the man, later identified as Tarver — was shattering light fixtures with a frying pan in the breezeway.
According to police, the criminal justice major got into a confrontation with arriving officers while wielding a cleaver and a frying pan. Police said he ignored commands to drop the items and started advancing toward officers.
Police said they used a taser on Tarver but he was able to get back up. “Then he charged full-on, at some point stabbing an officer in the shoulder,” Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon said.
An officer then fired his weapon multiple times, striking Tarver at least once. He was taken to the hospital, where he died.
The officer who was stabbed was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Tarver’s father, Kevin said the shooting was not justified. He’s demanding that Denton Police publicly release body cam videos he was able to watch in private on Tuesday. He told CBS 11 News he expected to see something that justified the officer’s actions. But he said the video suggests Denton police lied about what happened.
“I’m watching and all you see is him standing like this with the pan you don’t see the knife, the meat cleaver… he’s not threatening anybody he’s not an imminent threat at all,” described Kevin Tarver.
Kevin Tarver is a chaplain who works with McKinney Police and serves on the city’s police advisory council. He said he’s “pro police and pro justice,” and “just wants answers.” Kevin said officers never tried to restrain his son and shot him again when he stood up. He also admitted his son wasn’t “acting right” but insists there was no sign of aggression
The Denton Police Department Internal Affairs is also investigating the shooting. But the investigation by the Rangers will evaluate whether any criminal violations of law occurred. The Internal Affairs investigation will determine whether use of force was appropriate.
When the Rangers finish their investigation, they will present their findings to a Denton County Grand Jury.
Until that process is concluded, the City of Denton or Denton Police Department will not comment on the case.
The department did however send the following statement: “The death of Darius is tragic for all involved, including our community at large. Our collective hearts go out to the Tarver family, as well as friends and students at the University of North Texas.”
Tarver’s friends said they don’t believe substance abuse caused his erratic behavior. A toxicology test is pending.