Fort Worth officer shoots suspect who was walking towards a daycare with a pepper spray gun

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The 29-year-old man appeared to be ready to draw a handgun on officers near a daycare in far north Fort Worth, Police Chief Neil Noakes said at a news conference on the morning of the shooting. Officers first fired Tasers at the man, but Noakes said those were ineffective, and an officer shot the man in the abdomen.

After the shooting, investigators learned the weapon the man had in his waistband was a pepper-spray gun, Noakes said in a video statement Friday.

Police provided medical aid until the man could be transported to a hospital.

Officers were responding to several 911 calls that came in about a disturbance around 7:15 a.m., police said. The callers reported seeing a man yelling in a field who appeared to be in distress and was behaving erratically.

One of the 911 callers said the man chased him while saying, “you’re under arrest” and threatening to “pull the trigger,” according to the audio recording. The caller didn’t see a gun but said the man reached toward his waistband.

Callers also reported the man walked into the street, hit cars with a stick and stopped traffic.

Officers encountered the man at the intersection of Park Vista Boulevard and Keller Haslet Road. They tried to talk to the man and provide assistance, but he walked away from them, Noakes said.

In the video, officers can be heard asking the man to put his hands up and get on the ground. The man did not follow the orders, Noakes said. The man took off his shirt, and officers could then see the weapon in the waistband of his shorts, they said in the video.

The video appears to show at least two officers fire their Tasers, but that proved to be ineffective, Noakes said.

Using a patrol car for cover, officers followed the suspect, who walked in the road until they reached the 13000 block of Park Vista Boulevard, where Park Vista Children’s Academy is located.

Near the daycare building, the suspect turned back to walk toward the officers, reached down and gripped his weapon, Noakes said. The officers were concerned he was about to shoot and one of them fired at least one shot, which hit the man in the abdomen, the chief said.

Noakes said the officers were concerned about an armed man being so close to the daycare and were afraid he would try to go inside. Park Vista Children’s Academy is closed on Saturdays, and no children or staff were on site during the incident, but the officers didn’t know that prior to the shooting, he said.

The Crisis Intervention Team — officers with special training on how to deal with mental health issues — did not initially respond to the call, but came later, Noakes said. The suspect’s erratic behavior and threat to “pull the trigger” on one of the 911 callers who tried to help him made getting officers to the site a priority, the chief said.

“The patrol officers who came in worked hard to deescalate the situation themselves, worked hard to connect with this gentleman, did everything they can to provide whatever assistance he needed,” Noakes said. “Unfortunately, he was unresponsive to those requests to assist him.”

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