Clint Peterson Was Killed by Police While Running Away

Why did a Duncanville police officer shoot Clint Peterson? Don't bother asking the cops.

Clint Peterson Was Killed by Police While Running Away
Can Turkyilmaz
Melissa Peterson and Debra Gallegos witnessed the death of Peterson's brother Clint at the hands of Duncanville police.

There still are a few reminders left of Clint Peterson on Kelly Court, the quiet, leafy street in Duncanville where he was shot to death.

A neighbor's white pickup that Peterson once repaired is parked in a driveway. Across the street is the home of an elderly couple whose lawn he mowed for extra cash. A small bouquet of flowers sits outside another house in the middle of the block, where the three women who witnessed Peterson's brief, fatal encounter with police all live.

A few houses down, there is a more gruesome trace of Peterson — faint bloodstains on the concrete driveway where he collapsed after being shot.

Shyanna Gallegos lives at the house with the bouquet out in front. She says she woke up early the morning of October 28 to the sound of Melissa Peterson, one of her housemates, yelling at her brother Clint in the driveway, telling him to go home.

Gallegos' mom, Debra, the third witness, and Clint Peterson had dated on and off. But lately he was no longer welcome at the house. He was depressed and drank often. He stayed with a family friend not far away, who says Peterson planned to go to rehab later that day.

The police reports describe the scene before the shooting as a "major disturbance," but Peterson's sister and girlfriend dispute that account. They say they simply wanted him to leave. He often came over uninvited. And that morning, Peterson, a talented mechanic, had messed with some switches on Gallegos' car, so that the lights wouldn't work until he came back later to fix it. "He made me mad about the car, which now I look at it, it wasn't that big of a deal," Debra Gallegos says.

After the yelling woke her up, Shyanna Gallegos ran downstairs. "I told Melissa, 'Just shut up, go inside, leave Clint alone, I'll go out and talk to him," she says. The younger Gallegos considered Peterson a best friend and says she tried to mediate the fights he'd get into with her housemates. He seemed calm to her. He told her he found a job and promised he'd leave if he could get a cigarette. "The thing I don't understand is why there was even an argument to begin with, because when I came outside to talk to Clint, he had no problem talking to me and telling me what was going on," she says.

She told him to wait a minute and she'd bring him a smoke. Inside the house, her mother was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, telling them about the car. Shyanna Gallegos says she told her mother to give the dispatcher a warning: Peterson might be carrying a fake gun that easily could be mistaken for a real one. Or, at least he had been carrying one a few days prior. The women insist it was just a toy. Still, they feared it could cause trouble if a police officer saw it and thought it was real.

"We weren't sure the state of mind that Clint was in," Shyanna Gallegos says. "We wanted the officers to know that he might have a fake gun on him, that it is fake, for sure," and that "he would be more likely to be suicidal than to hurt anybody."

The three women say that Peterson was already walking away from their house as two Duncanville Police Department officers drove toward him and parked next to the curb. Within a minute, they say, he was dead.

The eyewitnesses say that the police officers, unprovoked, cornered Peterson and shot a Taser gun at him as he backed away with his hands in his pockets. They say that prompted Peterson to turn his back and run, but that he barely made it around a tree before an officer fired two bullets at him from point-blank range. Neighbors heard two gunshots. The three women believe it was the second bullet that struck Peterson, hitting him in the back of the head and killing him.

"If they lunged two steps, they could have tackled him, or used their Taser," says Melissa Peterson. "He didn't pull nothing, they didn't tell him nothing, they didn't tell him to stop, they didn't tell him to put his hands up."

If what the women say is true, it would be an outrageous story and difficult to believe. Yet so far, the police haven't released any information providing any other narrative.

Documents from the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office say Peterson, formally known as Clinton, died of a gunshot wound to the head, a homicide. He was 28 years old. The Duncanville Police Department has declined to release a police report to the family or the public that would explain how the killing occurred, saying they aren't obligated to release information because the case remains under investigation.

Instead, the department has been distributing a vague news release. It says that "shots were fired" after officers responded to a "major disturbance" in the 400 block of Kelly Court. But the official account doesn't say what that disturbance was, who fired the shots, whether or not the suspect was armed with any real or fake weapon or where he was hit.

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11 comments
acpa4u
acpa4u

Duncanville.... what else did you expect?

I lived there for 50 years and the town and the Police Department suck.

aaronsdigitl
aaronsdigitl

However, if it is proved that an officer used more force than was necessary, the officer can be held criminally and civilly liable. In Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1, 105 S. Ct. 1694, 85 L. Ed. 2d 1 (1985), the Supreme Court ruled that it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment for police officers to use deadly force to stop fleeing felony suspects who are nonviolent and unarmed. The decision, with an opinion written by Justice byron r. white, said, in part, "We conclude that such force may not be used unless it is necessary to prevent the escape and the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others."

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Deadly+Force

finnmf89
finnmf89

What is the death toll now of Dallas police shootings? In New York, police opened fire at a man blocking traffick and wounded two bystanders; then TAZERED the unarmed 'criminal', who prosecutors are now blaming for the innocent bystanders being shot. Not the police, who opened fire without warning towards an unarmed man rather than tazering him, but the unarmed man.

In east Texas an officer answering a 911 call shot and killed a man pestering his mother in law, and the officer was also injured. The officer is now seeking financial restitution for his injuries from the 911 caller for "not reporting how dangerous the man was". They're suing someone for calling 911 after shooting her son in law dead.

How many dead in Dallas this year alone? Does anyone have the toll? @dallasobserver is there any way you could put together and profiile the officers and victims of police shootings in 2013?

cajunscouse9
cajunscouse9

This is the type of journalism The Observer should produce more of.

tim.lebsack
tim.lebsack

Never call the cops.  They kill first and claim union immunity later.

scottie1620
scottie1620

We live in a Fascist police state where the cops see everybody not wearing a uniform as the enemy. It is time to stop coddling rogue cops and send them to prison for life in the general population so they can learn what it means to be brutalized by others. Cops in Duncanville have lower education and intelligence than cops in other places. It does not take much to light their fuses and make them take actions far beyond what is required of them.


Several years ago I had a confrontation with them after I caught a woman stealing the new license plate off my car because hers was expired and she could not or would not get her own tag renewed. They made no effort to chase her, but instead took me to jail for causing a disturbance. I was released a short time later when it became apparent to some judge that there had been a terrible miscarriage of justice.


These Duncanville cops should face the same end as Clint Petersen - shot in the back of the head at point blank range.

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@scottie1620  

These are the kind of people hired as police because everyone complains about the Government  SPENDING money !


to put it in a way that every one will get the point from


" YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR"


As long as folks allow the Local businesses complain about taxes this will continue forever !

In other words, This Is The Cost Of Being CHEAP !


The Cost of Conservatism is VERY High and the ONLY way to change the situation is to VOTE Conservatives OUT at EVERY Opportunity !


Being CHEAP Never makes the World a BETTER Place !

scottie1620
scottie1620

@dyoung112060 @scottie1620 I agree!


Besides, Duncanville cops are so fat that a foot chase for them is measured as the distance between a patrol car and a donut shop. Anything longer than that requires the use of deadly force.

epicmale
epicmale

@dyoung112060 How much of you paycheck do you wish to send to your local PD in order to allow them to hire higher quality personnel?  I know you are generous with other peoples' money, but don't you think you should set the example and step up to the plate with your own money first?

dyoung112060
dyoung112060

@scottie1620 @dyoung112060  

I can't say thats a surprise Scottie.

I have to mention that I don't live in Texas and unfortunately can't really do anything about the situation there.

this is a problem nation wide and it will only get worse because of the  Right Wing Nutz and their cheapskate mentality !


All I can say is that the Tea party Crew is NOT going to Help and most definitely be Careful of the Libertarian Liars Club, they in the most part have become extreme Fascists that are more interested in having the ability to act like local Warlords rather then looking for a democratic solutions to problems, just look to Somalia, that is their VISION of a Libertarian Paradise that they are looking to bring to the Good ole' USA !


I do wish you luck in changing things there, but be careful, these lowlifes will NOT go down without a fight, and the LAST thing they believe in is a FAIR fight.

 
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