He reportedly ran from the police while holding a gun, broke into a car, fired his weapon and was eventually killed in a shootout with police. Authorities say the shooting was justified. But his family is saying police were wrong.
FORT WORTH, Tex. – The family and friends of a man who was killed in an altercation with police are speaking out, saying that “they should have never killed him.”
This comes as police continue to release details surrounding the fatal officer involved shooting in Fort Worth on Sunday.
But was the shooting bad police work, as some people are claiming? Or is this another instance of an armed suspect refusing to comply with orders and directly threatening officer lives?
Initial reports indicated that police were alerted to a disturbance call concerning a man with a felony warrant. When they attempted to conduct a traffic stop on 20-year-old JaQuavion Slaton, he ran from police while “holding a handgun” officers said. Slaton was wanted on a felony warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
While he was fleeing, Slaton then allegedly hid in a stranger’s pickup truck to evade police, all the while still reportedly holding the gun. Video recorded by neighbors allegedly shows officers surrounding the vehicle.
When the officers then broke a window to get a better view of the suspect, Slaton “made an overt action”, causing three experienced Fort Worth officers to fear for their safety and authorize deadly force.
There is also evidence that Slaton fired his gun, although it has not been pinpointed exactly when it was fired.
So here we have a man who was wanted by police, fled and evaded capture with a loaded handgun, continued to keep that gun in his hand, disobeyed repeated orders, allegedly fired the gun, and made officers fear for their lives.
How is that bad police work?
Reverend Kyev Tatum reportedly invited Slaton’s girlfriend to speak at the New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church just one day after the shooting. Police had yet to identify the deceased suspect, but his significant other confirmed that it had been Slaton who was killed.
Tatum claimed to know exactly how the issue should have been solved. Everyone knows what should have been done after an incident is already over, right?
“You secure the perimeters, call in SWAT and negotiate your way out of gunfire in a community,” he said.
“The question is, did he deserve to lose his life,” Tatum finished.
The reverend also said that protests were planned at Fort Worth City Hall during council meetings on Tuesday evening.
“They should have never killed him. They didn’t have to kill him like that,” said Rayaa Arzu, Slaton’s girlfriend. Other witnesses to the shooting were quick to say that Slaton wasn’t armed, and that no matter the situation, officers would report that the suspect had a gun.
“The community is saying there was no gun drawn by the kid,” said community activist Corey Hughes. “Of course, there’s always another side to the story. Cops will always say he had a gun. Eyewitnesses says in the event there was a gun, he never pulled a gun.”
Members of the community are now demanding that the body camera footage from the involved officers be released to the public. It is unclear when that footage may be released.
No matter what the video reveals, it is important that it be released as soon as possible. It is also important to think about how all of us respond no matter what the video conveys,” Fort Worth city councilwoman Gyna Bivens wrote on Facebook.
This investigation is ongoing and will be updated as more information becomes public.