Jerry Waller, a 72-Year-Old Grandfather, Was Shot in His Driveway by Fort Worth Police
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.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.