Jerry Waller, a 72-Year-Old Grandfather, Was Shot in His Driveway by Fort Worth Police

Categories: News

JerryWaller.jpg
Texas Department of Public Safety
Jerry Waller
Early on Tuesday morning, Jerry Waller woke to a noise coming from outside the garage of his home on a quiet street near Woodhaven Country Club in East Fort Worth. It was about 1 a.m. when the 72-year-old stepped outside to investigate. He grabbed his .38-caliber handgun just to be safe.

The exact details of what happened next aren't yet clear. Did Waller point his gun at the Fort Worth police officers responding to a neighbor's burglar alarm? Did he ignore -- or not hear -- their commands to drop the weapon? Either way, the officers fired a half dozen times, killing Waller in his driveway.

"Married 46 years, and then somebody gets a little trigger-happy and away they go," Waller's wife, Kathy Waller, told WFAA.

By all accounts, Waller was a good, law-abiding neighbor and family man, certainly not the type to threaten uniformed police. Tracey Knight, a Fort Worth police spokeswoman, told CBS 11 that "Officers felt threatened by the man with the handgun and he was shot."

Both officers were rookies, according to the Star-Telegram. Both were "sobbing uncontrollably and very distraught over the shooting," said Betty Haskin, a former Fort Worth City Councilwoman and Waller's neighbor.

Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead says his department is investigating the shooting.

"[W]e remain committed to working with our residents and making this process efficient and transparent," he said in a statement. "I ask for your patience, your understanding, and most importantly, your prayers for all involved."

Both officers are reportedly on administrative leave.

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214 comments
bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

Fine, Hulk. Next time you hear a noise outside your house, my advice would be to grab your gun and rush out to confront that noise, whether it be a raccoon, an actual burglar, or the paper boy (this actually happened once, in Denver) and get off a shot or two before the police arrive. Waiting for proper law enforcement is for wusses.   

joepublic
joepublic

How many times do we need to hear about incompetent or over zealous police going to the wrong house and killing innocent people or their dogs?    

This case needs to be heard by a citizen's grand jury and not decided by a good ole boys club of police and / or DA.   The officers need charged with negligent homicide.    The police are no longer about protecting society,  and instead they are killing innocent members of society that are paying their wages.  Protect and serve is obsolete and the public must demand that the mission be about protecting and serving and if police can't grasp the importance they need fired.

baker24
baker24

Considering the statistics for police shootings, it would not surprise me if both of these officers left law enforcement - nearly 50% of the officers involved in fatal shootings leave their departments within five years, and this was not a "good shoot", in the sense that they killed an armed citizen, not a criminal. Granted that they may not have realized that at the time, but that is the result of the shooting. I suspect the Fort Worth tax rate may have to go up a bit to pay the settlement.....

baker24
baker24

Considering the statistics on police shootings, it would not surprise me if both the officers involved left law enforcement - nearly 50% of officers involved in fatal shootings left the departments they were in within five years.

ebailey75057
ebailey75057

Only question I have why were two Rookie cops working together? 

petenelson277
petenelson277

A sad tragedy. As well as the comments. None of us were there, so none of us knows what happened.

Let the investigation sort it out. I do know that the police chief in Fort Worth seems to be a person who will get the info and do the correct thing.

All of this is speculation and nothing more.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

I don't. i think they're human. 

eyeball
eyeball

In Fort Worth, a 72 year old grandfather has the right to keep and bear arms to protect himself on his own property...unless the police see him first...then; they have the right to shoot him six times and kill him - regardless of the good qualities of the life he lived...sounds like a police state to me...and no matter who is found to be at fault, I bet nothing happens to the cops beyond a slap on the wrist - maybe they'll get a few months in a country club prison...and expecting the police to do a fair and impartial investigation of a case like this is just too much...the fox never does a good job of watching the hen house and the police cannot police themselves...just saying...poor grandfather...poor police...

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Richard Hoeppner and Benjamin Hanlon were the officers responding to the call from the home across the street from Waller’s. Turns out, the alarm went off accidentally.

Hanlon’s voice is heard on an audio recording taken moments after the shooting to report the shooting, “I don’t know who the guy is. The guy came out with a gun. He wouldn't put the gun down. He pointed it at Hoeppner. Hoeppner fired.”

Waller, 72, was shot six times in the chest after he went outside to investigate bright lights outside of the bedroom on Havenwood Lane.

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/

If true, it appears to be a righteous shoot.

Ted Sled
Ted Sled

@LaSherra Green. Bill M King comments are not serious and meant to stir the proverbial s^%tpot.

Steve Handy
Steve Handy

Yeah, up in arms rioting, looting and acting like criminals. Really drives home their credibility...

LaSherra Green
LaSherra Green

The neighborhood is up at arms because the witnesses are saying that the boy did not have a gun and gave an entirely different account of what actually happened.

LaSherra Green
LaSherra Green

King, pull up one story where a "WOB" was shot after pointing a gun at a cop and there was a riot.

Jon Bryant
Jon Bryant

If you are a cop, and you go out to a call , you have to be ready for anything. Even ready enough to not shoot a guy in his driveway trying to protect himself and family.remember in training, don't shoot the good guy. So if a non uniform would have can around the corner , they would have just opened fire. Give me damn break . Looks like these boys should have had the finger off the trigger till finding out

Shane Owens
Shane Owens

Unfortunately, if officers used the same ROE as is used in combat we would have considerably more officer deaths. A perfect example happened here in Dallas. An officer was chasing an armed suspect, three times the suspect pointed his weapon at the officer but didn't fire. The officer did not shoot at the suspect each time. The criminal raised his weapon a fourth time and killed the officer. I will go home every night. If a stranger points a gun at me, I have no choice but to shoot them to make sure that happens. Having said that, I am saddened for all involved in this incident and my heart goes out to the family of the man killed.

Jim Smith
Jim Smith

@ Shane, It is easy to second guess but it just appears that the cops overeacted. That's all.. Who know I might have done the same thing. It is said its better to be judged by 12 then to be carried away by 6.....

Rob Moore
Rob Moore

They may have, Jon. But that may also be completely irrelevant based upon the facts as they come out.

Rob Moore
Rob Moore

Exactly, Shane. With 20 years experience there's no way I can say I would not have done the same thing under the same circumstances. I wasn't there. It's part of the risk involved in police work.

FEDUP
FEDUP

Sobbing uncontrollably??/ Poor F**ING MORONS. Only difference between cops and criminals, cop wears a uniform and badge!

Rob Moore
Rob Moore

A tragic event. "Murder" though, Larry? How you figure?

Travis Owens
Travis Owens

I personally believe police should follow rules if engagement. Too often they shoot first and something like this happens. I understand the confusion and its tragic.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

well if you call the cops, they might come to your house and kill you.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@bmarvel 

I didn't say I thought that running outside with a gun was a good idea, bmarvel, now did I?

I said that your comparison was invalid unless and until each and every neighborhood was served by the police as promptly as yours seems to be. Point being, your opinion is colored by your experience just as the opinions of others are colored by theirs.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

those idiots need to leave law enforcement now.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@baker24 We ask cops to do things the rest of us are unable or unwilling to do. Anybody who says he can shoot another person and not feel some regret, guilt, whatever, is either a damned fool or a dangerous sociopath

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

news photo shows a house with garage...garage is literally PART OF THE HOUSE. it looks a whole lot like those idiots killed that man IN HIS HOME, as opposed to the suggestion that it happened outside.

joepublic
joepublic

@petenelson277 Yes sad and tragic.  A citizens grand jury needs to decide the disposition of every such case of gross police abuse or such tragic outcomes.   In the end the police work for the public,   and a blanket policy of using grand juries in such cases would reinforce that relationship.  

eyeball
eyeball

@petenelson277 ...we know the police killed a citizen and we know that when this happens, they almost always "circle up the wagons" around their "accused"...investigation??? what investigation???...if anything, the police activity after a murder like this is an attempt at "validation" of the activities of the police...and those of us who have been brainwashed into thinking that the police are always right will go on with our business as usual...

FEDUP
FEDUP

@holmantx Righteous shoot?? Are ya f**knig kiddin me?  They were *across * the street from the alarm, and the man was in 'HIS OWN GARAGE which attached to the house means in 'HIS OWN HOME'!!!!  They gave this 'KID" a badge, uniform and weapon, HE WAS TRIGGER HAPPY! Try that shit at my home! The police have way TOO MUCH POWER, they make up their own laws as the situation happens!



hilllbillle
hilllbillle

cops answering a burglay call and killing the neighbor in his home really drives home their credibility.

Fred
Fred

87% of dogs shot are shot in error. Source: Department of Justice.
A dog is shot every 98 minutes, if you didn't know.
Why should I think cops shooting humans are any better? Especially when we take the time to actually look at them.

Fred
Fred

You are a perfect example of what is wrong. You are going home, period. You gain the pay, the fat retirement pension. The short time to get there. You get the weapons and armor and all the tech. Yet you still want to play cowboy. You very well may be part of the 40% of good cops but I doubt it, just from what little you have said. Look up the stats. You are lying, murderous power tripping thugs. In general. Most willing to kill any number of innocent dogs and humans just so you can go home. I don't give a shit if you make it home. Do the job you was hired to do. Protect and Serve. But they never really did mean that now did they.


hilllbillle
hilllbillle

if you go to this strangers house and kill him in his own home some of us are going to question that.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

better if the homeowner was facing charges and the cops were carried away.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

they went to his house and killed him in his own home. how is it not murder? if they had stayed at the place they were called to and off his property , he would still be alive.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

we don't ask cops to come kill us in our homes.

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@FEDUP  Report of a possible burglary in progress. Dead of night. Cops show up, lights flashing. See guy standing in garage across the street, pistol in hand. Cops identify themselves and order him to drop the gun. For some reason, he points it at one of the cops. Microseconds here to make a decision. What will it be? What would YOURS be?

Wait a few seconds to see if he pulls the trigger? Ignore him on the theory that whatever is going on, he's not part of it? Check his ID -- if he doesn't shoot you first --  to make sure it's his own garage he's standing in.

We have cops so amateurs don't have to run around shooting law-breakers. We tried that in the Old West, and it didn't work out so well. Too many folks with flexible notions of the law, too many folks too quick on the trigger,.


holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@FEDUP @holmantx 

squad car lights were on.

he was ordered to drop the weapon.

he refused and pointed the weapon at the officer.

If these elements are true as reported, it was a righteous shoot.

The only thing left is to test the guy's blood for alcohol or drugs, because it sounds like his judgment was impaired.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

i been busted just enough to know not to trust the cops.

coltgovt
coltgovt

@bmarvel

"" A figure lurking in an open garage across the street, especially one that's armed..."

Hahaha, interesting perspective and word choice.

lurk [lurk] 

1. to lie or wait in concealment, as a person in ambush; remain in or around a place secretly or furtively.

2. to go furtively; slink; steal.

3. to exist unperceived or unsuspected.

Lurk, skulk, sneak, prowl suggest avoiding observation, often because of a sinister purpose. To lurk is to lie in wait for someone or to hide about a place, often without motion, for periods of time. Skulk suggests cowardliness and stealth of movement. Sneak emphasizes the attempt to avoid being seen. It has connotations of slinking and of an abject meanness of manner, whether there exists a sinister intent or the desire to avoid punishment for some misdeed. Prowl implies the definite purpose of seeking for prey; it suggests continuous action in roaming or wandering, slowly and quietly but watchfully, as a cat that is hunting mice.

You're to funny @bmarvel

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

and who says he 'pointed his gun'? the cop who killed him in his own home and his partner?

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

apparently, the cops were quickestest on the trigger that night. i hope they don't come to my house and kill me like that.

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@bmarvel Funny how far you will bend over to defend 2 cops who shot someone. Bootlicker. 

bmarvel
bmarvel topcommenter

@FEDUP  Cops are never sure when they show up at a potential crime scene -- especially at night when it's not at all clear what's happened -- what or who they're going to encounter. The "actual'" call is often not the main focus of action, even of  buglary. 

A figure lurking in an open garage across the street, especially one that's armed, is inviting investigation. He just is. Many a cop has been shot by someone who at first was mistaken for a bystander. That's why cops, when they enter an active shooting scene, yell "Police! Everybody down!"

When that person ordered by a cop to throw down his gun not only does not do so but points the gun at the cop, the cop is not required to count to ten or ponder the many ramifications of the moment. 

If the victim here had exercised common sense and prudence and called police before his armed foray, he would have been told by the dispatcher that cops are already on the scene and to stay in his house. Here's the thing about gun ownership;  it promotes the illusion that the gun owner is in command of the situation.He's got the gun; doesn't that mean he's in the right?

But we expect cops to be in command of the situation. It's what we pay them for. Not to be the fastest draw on the streets of Dodge City.


FEDUP
FEDUP

@bmarvel Quick to the trigger?, like those MORON cops. What the hell were they doing across the street from the 'actual' call of the alarm?? Hope that cop fries!

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

so BIG BROTHER should kill this guy in his house, then test his dead body for booze or drugs to try to make it his fault they went to his house and killed him in his own fucking home?

FEDUP
FEDUP

@holmantx @FEDUP The alarm WAS ACROSS THE STREET ACROSS THE STREET. what in sam hill were they doing at his house?   

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