Fort Worth Police Affidavit Cites Lighting in Shooting at Wrong House

Officers on burglary call fatally shot armed homeowner in May

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013  |  Updated 6:46 PM CDT
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A search warrant affidavit blames poor lighting for police officers responding to a burglary alarm going to the wrong house and shooting 73-year-old Jerry Waller inside his Fort Worth garage.

Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter

A search warrant affidavit blames poor lighting for police officers responding to a burglary alarm going to the wrong house and shooting 73-year-old Jerry Waller inside his Fort Worth garage.

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A police affidavit says Fort Worth officers who fatally shot an armed homeowner while answering a burglary call went to the wrong house because of poor lighting.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the two officers were sent to 409 Havenwood Lane at about 12:51 a.m. on May 28. But they inadvertently began searching the house across the street, the home of 72-year-old Jerry Waller, which is at 404 Havenwood Lane.

Waller's home did not have lighting around it, according to the affidavit.

Believing the burglary might still be in progress, the officers searched the grounds illuminated only by their flashlights.

They then encountered Waller near the corner of the home as they approached the garage. The officers identified themselves as police and told Waller to drop his handgun. Instead, he pointed it at the officers, and one of the officers shot him dead.

According to the medical examiner in May, Waller's place of death was in his garage.

The search warrant, which was filed five hours after the shots were fired, was just made public this week.

Police are still investigating the shooting.

The department declined on Thursday to comment on the investigation.

"Please keep in mind that the Havenwood Lane North shooting is a critical police incident that takes several weeks to complete by the Fort Worth Police Major Case Unit," police spokesman Sgt. Kelly Peel said. "It will be reviewed through the chain of command and ultimately by the chief of police."

Waller's family has called for an independent investigation. In a statement released shortly after the shooting, the family said it was "deeply troubled by the police department misrepresenting details of the incident" in media interviews.

Kathy Waller, the victim's wife, told NBC 5 on the day of the shooting that she was "disgusted" by the shooting and said the officers were "trigger happy."

She said her husband grabbed a .38-caliber pistol and went outside when they noticed bright lights outside their bedroom window. While still in the bedroom, she heard yelling at about the same time as she heard gunshots, she said.

The two officers have both been with the Fort Worth Police Department for less than a year.

NBC 5's Scott Gordon and Chris Van Horne contributed this report.

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