Bodycam shows Arlington officers fatally shot man who raised shotgun at them

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Newly released body camera footage shows the minutes before Arlington police officers fatally shot a man who raised a shotgun at them.

On Nov. 19, Arlington PD said a 23-year-old man texted 911 that he wanted to die by “suicide by cop.”

Text messages released by police showed the man told 911 operators that he was on his porch on Fallcreek Street with a 12-gauge shotgun.

“I know they don’t want to hurt me, but I need to give them a reason to,” the messages read. “Will a cop’s vest stop a shotgun slug?”

On Wednesday, the Arlington police department released body camera videos of the fatal confrontation that ensued.

“I want the public to understand, these are some of the most challenging and stressful calls we respond to,” said Arlington police chief Al Jones. “And I want to assure them that our officers go into these situations wanting to save lives.”

Officers arrived at the scene and called the man, spending minutes trying to talk him down.

“I need to help you, but I can’t help you, I can’t get close to you if you’ve got a rifle in your hand,” one officer could be heard telling the man over the phone.

Instead, a video showed the man approaching officers with the shotgun in hand.

“I need you to drop the rifle so that we can talk to you,” officers yelled to the man. “Let us help you.”

Body cam footage showed the man raising his weapon. Three officers then shot and killed him. All three officers have been on leave since the incident.

The Arlington police department’s homicide unit and internal affairs units have been conducting separate investigations into whether the shooting was justified.

“I will say this: based on everything that I’ve seen, I believe these officers did everything in their power to try to help this individual and to save his life,” Jones said.

There were one tool officers didn’t use at the scene: moments before the shooting, one officer asked aloud if anyone had less than lethal weapons to use on the man.

“Who’s got less lethal? I need someone with less lethal,” the officer calls out.

NBC5 asked the Arlington police chief about that moment.

“So yes, he did call for less-than-lethal weapons,” Jones responded. “Unfortunately, in a situation like this, this is a deadly force situation. This young man raised his gun up to these officers.”

“I don’t think it would have been appropriate for us to try to use less lethal force on this guy, this was a deadly force situation,” he continued.

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