Clint Peterson Was Killed by Police While Running Away

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

In Peterson's case, the most vivid picture has come from the three witnesses, although their accounts are sometimes inconsistent. The housemates gave statements to the police shortly after and were told they can't get more information until the case is delivered to the District Attorney's Office.

Most other people on the street say they didn't see or hear anything that morning, that they were waking up or not home. A few people heard two gunshots but didn't know where they came from. Another witness, a man who lives next door to the house where Peterson died, said he looked out of his bedroom window after hearing the second gunshot and saw Peterson lying on his stomach in the driveway, with his head gushing blood. A police officer pushed three women away from the body as the women asked why they shot him, the neighbor recalls.

The neighbor can't speak English but gave an interview with his wife translating, on the condition that he not be named. He says he saw no weapons by Peterson's body and "didn't see nothing in his arms."


Clint Peterson's funeral was in Salina, Utah.
Clint Peterson's funeral was in Salina, Utah.

Details

Peterson moved to Duncanville a year and a half ago, following his sister Melissa. They grew up in Salina, a small town in the middle of Utah where they struggled to find work.

He stayed on and off at the crowded house on Kelly Court and fell in love with Debra Gallegos. He repaired cars and mowed lawns in the neighborhood. He even found a stable job at a home improvement store. But he lost the job, and the relationship fell apart. Debra Gallegos said it was the age difference that bothered her — at 50, she was 22 years older than Peterson.

Shyanna Gallegos says he also caused trouble by trying to bring alcohol over, even though the women didn't want it in the house.

And, according Debbie Scroggins, Gallegos' half-sister who also lived there, Peterson was also a drug addict, making him act strangely but never violently. "I've never seen him hit anybody, he just would steal," Scroggins says. (Scroggins wasn't home when the shooting took place.)

Whatever the reason for the break-up, he didn't take the news well. He stayed with Bobby Smith, an acquaintance who has his own lawn-mowing business. "He was real depressed and stuff," Smith says.

Even while he stayed with Smith, Peterson would often walk over to the Gallegos' home, uninvited. He would stand on the driveway, begging Debra Gallegos to talk to him. "He would stand outside my mom's window at night and throw some rocks, like a little lovebird would, and be like, 'Hey Debbie, come out and talk to me.' And whether my mom came out and talk to him or not, that was on her," Shyanna Gallegos says. "Everyone had a problem with my mom and Clint being together, that's why nobody wanted Clint around."

On some mornings, Scroggins would find what she assumed were Peterson's cigarette butts littered on the driveway. Another morning, Scroggins noticed nails in her tire, which she also thought could be Peterson's doing. She called the police. An officer came to the house and found no leads. Scroggins says the officer suggested they call back if Peterson reappeared.

Despite all that, Scroggins says she mostly got along with Peterson. "I didn't like some of the stuff he did, but as a person, I liked him." Apparently, Peterson wasn't charged for that incident, or anything else while he lived in Texas. A search of his name and date of birth shows no arrests in the state.

The other women downplay the tire incident and Peterson's alleged substance abuse. "Most of the time, all my brother did was drink," Melissa Peterson says.

Yet they knew the toy gun could cause trouble. Scroggins once saw him carrying it in his waistband. To her it looked real.

"I said, 'You have a gun? Oh my God, you have no business with a gun,'" Scroggins recalled.

Shyanna Gallegos said she could tell by just looking that it was an airsoft gun. "He came up to me acting like some kind of badass, he's like, 'I got this gun, I found it,'" she says. "I'm like, 'That's fake,' and he goes, 'No it ain't.' 'I'm like, Clint that's fake, I'm not an idiot.'" She grabbed it out of his hand, and shook it, hearing plastic toy pellets inside. He told her he found it in a trash bin. Gallegos saw a crack in the side. She tried to pull the trigger but it was jammed.


Suspects who hold guns in front of police — real or fake — are likely to end up getting shot, even if they are fleeing. "If a guy has a gun, they're entitled to shoot him. The courts won't second guess the cop in that kind of dangerous situation," says Harrington, the civil rights attorney.

Yet the witnesses insist he never pointed it at officers. They say they're still not sure if he even had it on him the morning he died.

The police came quickly that morning. Debra Gallegos was still on the phone with 911. Her daughter ran downstairs with Peterson's cigarette but he already walked off and was several houses away. There were two officers, one on a motorcycle and one in a squad car. They parked a few houses down, in front of the address where Peterson would soon die.

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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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