Wife of 72-Year-Old Man Killed by Police Wants Answers

"The police made a terrible mistake," she says

Police were "trigger happy" when at least one officer shot and killed a 72-year-old homeowner while responding to a burglar alarm across the street, the man's wife said Tuesday.

Kathy Waller said she and her husband, Jerry, noticed bright lights from outside their bedroom window at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

He grabbed a .38-caliber pistol and went outside to see what was going on.

"He probably thought it was a group of yuckos out there or something messing around," she said.

It was police responding to a burglar alarm, which wasn't at their house, but across the street.

"I'm just curious as hell how it happened," she said. "I heard he was shot six times in the chest by a Glock, I guess, or whatever the police use. I'm disgusted."

Police offered few details about the shooting but promised a thorough investigation.

Fort Worth police spokeswoman Cpl. Tracey Knight said two officers -- each with less than a year on the force -- responded to a burglar alarm call and feared for their lives when they encountered the armed homeowner.

Knight would not say whether Jerry Waller raised his weapon or refused an order to drop it or if one or both of the officers opened fire. She also would not name the officers involved but said they were on routine leave pending the investigation.

"This is a tragedy for everybody," Knight said. "A family lost a loved one, and you can never replace that loved one, and we know that. It is a horrible tragedy. And an officer went through an incident that no officer ever wants to go through."

Kathy Waller said she would like more answers from police.

"Married 46 years and somebody gets a little trigger happy and away they go, you know," she said.

It was unclear why the officers were behind the Waller home because the call was at a neighbor's directly across the street.

Kathy Waller said officers told her they thought the alarm call came from her residence.

Still in her bedroom, she heard yelling at about the same time she heard gunshots, she said.

Her husband, who had apparently just opened the garage door, was shot and killed by at least one officer.

"It happened in less than five minutes," she said.

She ran downstairs and saw her husband lying at the edge of their garage and driveway.

"I looked down and saw he was gone," she said.

At first, she said she thought her husband had been killed by a burglar.

Paramedics took Kathy Waller to the hospital because her blood pressure was high.

At the hospital, a detective told her what had happened, she said.

"I have to tell you the truth," she quoted the detective as saying. "It was one of our officers."

Kathy Waller said she responded, "I appreciate you telling me but I'm very angry. He's a very good person."

She and her husband had been married for 46 years. He operated a tire recycling business in Seagoville, she said.

The couple has three children and four grandchildren.

"He would give you the shirt off his back, and he was loving, and he was a wonderful husband," Kathy Waller said. "I think the police made a terrible mistake."

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