Fort Worth police shared bodycam video that ended with 6 people shot, 2 gunmen killed by officers
Fort Worth police shared body cam video of a deadly scene that ended with six people shot, including two gunmen killed by officers. But there are many questions police and the video do not answer.
Police say an officer heard a gunshot then saw a man pointing a gun at someone on the ground, and then the officer fatally shot that armed man. The officer did not announce himself until after firing.
Then, someone — not the officer — fired two gunshots, and the officer and an arson investigator with the officer saw another man with and gun and fatally shot him.
Besides the two men killed by law enforcement, four other people had gunshot wounds.
Newly released body camera footage shows the tense moments when a Fort Worth police officer and a Fort Worth arson investigator shot and killed two men armed with guns in the early morning hours of July 5 at a block party.
Overnight on the Fourth of July, a Fort Worth police officer and an arson investigator, who is a Fort Worth Fire Department employee who’s trained and licensed as an armed Texas peace officer, were working as a team responding to illegal firework complaints.
Police say while on the way to a different call just before 12:30 am on July 5, the two passed by a block party at Ross Avenue and 32nd in North Fort Worth.
As they were responding, a 911 call came in from the neighbor about people fighting at the party. Police say they are still unsure what started the fight.
Police say as the officer approached the scene, a gunshot was heard.
Police say the officer then saw a man, later identified as 21-year-old Billy Smith, standing and pointing a firearm at what officers later learned was an injured man on the ground next to an SUV.
One body camera clip starts with the sound of a gunshot and then the police officer firing multiple rounds at Smith.
Chief Neil Noakes says the officer perceived an immediate threat to the injured man on the ground and fired his weapon at Smith before announcing his presence on scene.
"The choice there is, do I give commands and take the chance of this person shooting and possibly killing someone? Or do I try to protect the person on the ground?" he said. "What we are going to try to do is determine in our investigation is determined what is going through the officer’s mind and what factors played into his decision."
At the same time, police say the arson investigator saw a second man, later identified as 30-year-old Bronshay Minter, with a pistol in his hand.
Chief Noakes says the pistol had a weapon light-activated, which was shining in the direction of officers and a person on the ground.
According to Chief Noakes, the investigators heard two shots from the front yard, causing the arson investigator to fire his weapon at Minter. The Fort Worth officer also shot at Minter. Minter fell to the ground, dropping the pistol.
Police say Minter got up and ran and was found along the side of the house. He later died at the hospital.
As the officer rounded the SUV, the injured man — who police say Smith had been pointing a gun at — can be seen next to a woman on the curb.
Police say the man had been shot, stabbed and beaten, but it’s still unclear by who and why.
Three other people were found with gunshot wounds as well, including one man who left the scene and investigators are still trying to contact.
It’s still unclear whose gunfire hit the four people who were shot but survived, and whether any were struck by law enforcement’s gunfire.
Chief Noakes says ballistics will help determine this information while commenting about officers shooting into a crowd.
"One thing we have to consider is the backdrop," he said. "Which is what is beyond what you are shooting at? What other risk factors may there be to anyone else in the area? Quite frankly, the officers have to make those decision is a matter of seconds or a split second."
Chief Noakes was asked Tuesday if he believes the deadly shooting was justified.
"We want to make sure we do that complete investigation before we make a ruling about anything," he said.
Two guns were recovered at the scene, according to police. There was a semi-automatic pistol next to Smith and a pistol with a weapon light next to where Minter fell.
Police say two shell casings matching the caliber of Minter’s pistol were also found nearby.
A leather sap, also known as a leather club, was photographed lying next to the pistol.
But police never said whether Smith or Mintor fired shots.
Billy smith’s , Cynthia Smith, spoke after the press conference begging for help in burying her son.
"I just want everybody to stay calm as much as you can and let this fold out," she said. "Anything after this, so be it. I just want to put my baby to rest."
The Fort Worth police officer who fired his weapon has been with the department for 14 years. The arson investigator has been with the Fort Worth Fire Department for six years.
Chief Noakes is asking for the public to come forward with any information because he admits there is still a lot of questions.