Fort Worth Police Release Video of Officer Shooting, Injuring Gunman
Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes on Thursday released intense body camera video of an officer shooting that injured an armed man who was reportedly suicidal
Fort Worth Police opened Thursday afternoon’s press conference by showing an edited video narrated by the chief of police describing the events of the night of March 14.
Video shows officers trying to talk the man into dropping his gun before the man begins shooting, leading officers to return fire and injure him.
Police identified the gunman as Robert Ramos. The 64-year-old survived the shooting but is still hospitalized. He’s charged with aggravated assault on a public servant.
Noakes said he hopes that by releasing audio and video and answering questions from media partners, the department can show transparency and continue building trust in the community.
“I hope people realize we are being transparent. We have officers who put their lives on the line every single day. As I said, officers don’t get shot at every day, but they come to work knowing they might, and they are still coming back,” said Noakes.
Police played 911 audio of a woman reporting her husband, Ramos, was drunk, had grabbed her 9 mm Glock handgun from a safe and began threatening her.
FWPD’s Crisis Intervention Team was on its way to the scene, but three uniformed officers arrived first. Fearing for other residents’ safety, they moved in.
An officer is heard trying to talk to Ramos, asking him why he was upset and demanding he drop his gun.
Ramos is then heard responding with an expletive. He fired three shots, prompting all three officers to fire back, injuring him.
NBC 5 pressed Noakes about the trained crisis intervention team’s delay in getting to the scene involving a clearly distraught suspect.
“The fact is, their demands are great and oftentimes they’re already serving citizens on other calls,” said Noakes. “When I saw 20 minutes, the conversations we’re having right now is, is there a way to more efficiently respond and get them on the scene faster. But one thing I really want to say here is the officer who was speaking with Mr. Ramos, he did a phenomenal job. He spoke very kindly. He tried to connect with Mr. Ramos.
Noakes praised the officer and emphasized he is a "certified mental health peace officer."
“Quite frankly, I don’t know that anyone else on the CIT could’ve done better,” he added.
The chief of police says 856 officers have gone through training to better handle mental health calls for service. Their goal is for the entire force to receive the training that now begins in the police academy.
The three officers are back on duty after being placed on standard leave during the investigation.
The investigation will be turned over to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office for review and grand jury presentation.
“Although the shooting is justified, this is still traumatic,” he said.
The shooting, the chief of police says, is another reminder of the inherent dangers facing law enforcement and of a global mental health crisis.
“I ask anyone who is suffering from mental wellness issues, please reach out for help,” said Noakes. “Because the last thing an officer wants to do is come to work, face a situation like this and have to use their weapon.”