Down on Sherman Street

In the old neighborhood, Joe Lee Calloway played dominoes and hung out with his buddies. Until a Grand Prairie cop killed him right there

"What was his crime?"

"I will be 31 in the next nine days," Charles Calloway says, letting out a sigh and biting his lower lip. "There were promises I had made to myself. My number one priority was to reconcile with my dad. It can't be done now. That's what I have to sleep on every day. I loved my dad. All of this is just craziness now."

Charles Calloway spoke with his father for the last time 45 minutes before Calloway was killed. Charles was driving to the high school track for an afternoon jog when he spotted his father and stopped to chat.

"I said, 'look out old man' and he said 'watch out boy,'" says Charles. "I was thinking this was my opportunity to address what I had been talking about."

Around 4 p.m. on Monday, October 7, Tony Price says he was sitting at his back door when he saw Calloway standing in the middle of Sherman Street--directly in front of the lot where Calloway's duplex stood before the city tore it down.Calloway was swiping at the air with a knife, spinning himself in half circles with each swing. Although local news reported Calloway was harassing motorists, Price says he moved to the sidewalk any time a car passed.

Chandra Calloway is still trying to determine whether her father was off his medication that day, but according to witnesses, he was acting like he was having a bout with his demons. Responding to a call from a concerned neighbor, Grand Prairie police officer Barry Fletcher parked his car at the end of the block and approached Calloway with his gun drawn.

The officer reportedly returned the weapon to its holster and ordered Calloway to drop his pocket knife. With each step forward Fletcher took, Price says Calloway took one backward.

"Joe had his hands out like the spread of an airplane. He was trying to get away from the policeman," says Price.

Unable to convince Calloway to cooperate, Fletcher unloaded mace in Calloway's face. Still unable to subdue Calloway, Fletcher got out his billy club and began hitting him on the neck, shoulders, and arm, according to Price.

"Joe kept yelling 'Quit that. Ouch. It hurts,'" says Price, who watched as Fletcher and Calloway backed down the sidewalk and turned into the yard at 2013 Sherman Street--the house where Calloway was raised.

Calloway was trapped in the corner of the yard's chain link fence when Blake Hubbard's squad car sped down Sherman Street and skidded to a halt in front of the house.

Neighbors have unanimously praised Fletcher's actions, noting that he kept the situation under control.

Witness Dorothy White, whom neighbors call Ms. Tiny, feels that if the newly arrived Hubbard had only been patient, he would have seen that there was no need for guns. After all, she says, Calloway was a disabled man who was backed into a corner and blinded by mace.

But Hubbard drew his gun and closed in on Calloway.
"He said 'Drop the goddamn knife, nigger.' He said 'Drop the fucking knife,'" White claims. "I got that gut feeling. An expression came over Joe's face and it looked like death. I said, 'Honey, don't shoot him.'" (Grand Prairie police deny that Hubbard used the word nigger. "Our conclusion is that he did not use that word," says Joe Dionisi, an administrative assistant to chief Harry Crumb.)

Hubbard fired into Calloway's chest. The bullets ripped through his liver, lungs, and heart, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's autopsy report.

"He just laid down to the ground like he was fixing to go to sleep. Then the blood just came spurting out. It covered his shirt like an oil spill," Price says. "Ms. Tiny already said don't kill him. There was no reason for that."

In a later radio interview, Hubbard said Calloway began to turn sideways, toward Fletcher, and raise the knife above his head. "I believed that Officer Fletcher's life was in danger," he said, explaining why he felt his decision to fire was justified.

Hubbard's attorney, John Read, says Calloway forced Hubbard to shoot by refusing to drop the knife.

"There's no question my client thought his partner was in jeopardy and that he--or another citizen--might be killed," Read says.

A blue sign reading "God Bless This House" hangs over the kitchen doorway inside Ms. Tiny's home, which sits across the street from 2013 Sherman Street. When giving her statements to police, White says, police investigators suggested that Calloway might have raised his knife to attack Fletcher.

"I'll die going to hell, he did not," insists White, who lets her anger drain out before she recalls how Calloway had stopped by that morning to visit.

"He was sitting right there in that chair. He was talking real good to me," she says. "I miss him so much. Don't nobody know how much I miss him."

Chandra Calloway was at her job as a receptionist when a friend called with the news that her father had been shot.

"I thought, 'Well, Dad must have been doing something more than usual for them to pull the trigger. He must be shot in the arm or leg,'" she says.

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