Police in Fort Worth, Texas, are blaming "poor lighting" after two officers went to the wrong home in search of a possible burglar and ended up shooting a 72-year-old man dead in his garage. The officers, who are both in their first year with Fort Worth PD, were responding to a burglary alarm on May 28 when the tragic mistake occurred.
"Due to poor lighting conditions, and officers attempting to arrive on the scene undetected," the cops approached the home of Jerry Waller by mistake, according to an affidavit. The house they were actually supposed to go to was across the street.
The two officers, B.B Hanlon and Arpie Hoeppner, were searching around the home with their flashlights when Waller emerged from his home armed with a handgun, investigating who was walking around his property with flashlights.
Police radio transmissions obtained by NBC DFW captured what happened next:
"The guy came out with a gun and wouldn’t put the gun down,’ Officer Hanlon said. ‘He pointed it at Hoeppner, Hoeppner fired," Hanlon said.
Both of the officers claim they identified themselves as police officers and told Waller to drop his firearm. They claim he instead lifted his firearm and pointed it at them. The police department is claiming the man was shot in self-defense.
However, Waller's widow, Kathy, told NBC DFW that she was "disgusted" with the "trigger happy" officers." She said her slain husband grabbed his .38-cal. handgun after seeing lights outside their bedroom and reported hearing yelling moments before Waller was shot dead.
Further, the man's daughter, Angie, said she was "disturbed by suggestions that police may have felt threatened by a man in his own garage faced with unknown trespassers [wielding] flashlights."
Waller's family is calling for an independent investigation into the incident. The family has also accused the police department of "misrepresenting details of the incident" in media interviews.
(H/T: Daily Mail)