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.