- Brian Chilson
- AT THE SCENE: Demonstrators react angrily to police shooting.
Reporting by David Koon and Brian Chilson:
A Little Rock police officer killed a man who reportedly pulled a gun on him during a foot chase near 12th and Jefferson Street about 11:30 a.m. today.
Details remain murky, but the shooting drew a large crowd of neighbors and others to the majority black neighborhood where hand-made signs quickly appeared criticizing the police for past uses of deadly force. City Manager Bruce Moore, who went to the scene along with Police Chief Stuart Thomas, said the events were unrelated, but he told Fox 16’s David Goins, “I think part of what happened in Florida over the weekend has spilled over here.” He referred to the Trayvon Martin slaying verdict. Protest signs made reference to police shootings of “black boys.”
A law enforcement source said the incident began when a two-man patrol unit — Terry McDaniel and Grant Humphries — tried to stop an SUV on 12th Street. The vehicle was on a “hot” list — suspected of being stolen. When they asked the driver to get out of the vehicle for unspecified reasons, he ran. McDaniel chased on foot and Humphries followed in the car. McDaniel caught up with the man in the yard of a house roughly between 11th and 12th, east of Jefferson Street. According to our source, McDaniel said the man pulled a gun — he’d earlier thrown other objects from his pocket, some appearing to be drugs. McDaniel fired, perhaps at least two shots. The suspect’s gun was not fired.
There apparently were no other witnesses to the shooting. As is customary, the officers were separated, provided counsel and taken to different places to be interviewed.
Our source said a gun that the dead man was allegedly carrying was tagged as evidence at the scene. It appeared to be a nine-millimeter pistol.
UPDATE: The police statement on the shooting is reprinted on the jump. The agency is not confirming identities of the officers other than to say they are four- and five-year veterans of the force. The account said a gun had fallen out of the suspect’s waistband and when he picked it up the officer fired three times. The department confirmed that the SUV the shooting victim was driving was NOT stolen, a suspicion that had put the deadly chain of events in motion.
Given the angry crowds that gathered and the racial comments made by some of them, it is relevant to note that McDaniel is a black officer. He has used deadly force at least once before. McDaniel, 25, fatally shot a man who pulled a gun on him when interrupted during a daytime home burglary on Thayer Street. The burglar had earlier fatally shot one man and wounded another at the home.
A large crowd gathered as a State Police helicopter circled over the scene. A person who identified himself as a civil rights lawyer urged the crowd to be calm.
- David Koon
- AT THE SCENE: Demonstrators.
One man held a sign that said “Justice 4 Bobby Moore.” Former Little Rock police officer Josh Hastings was charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting Moore, a teen-aged car burglary suspect. Last month, a hung jury led to a mistrial in the Hastings trial. Aside from a police officer doing the shooting, today’s incident and the Moore case are unrelated.
David Koon reports that the clerk at gas station where many of the demonstrators gathered locked the doors of the gas station to keep people out. One man threw tea and an empty can on the door in frustration. Otherwise, he reports the anger has mostly been contained.
About 2:30 p.m., a woman who identified herself as Chastity Duffy was walking along the south side of 12th Street, supporting a sobbing woman who said she was the wife of the man who was killed. Duffy identified the man who was killed as Deon Williams, 26. Police later confirmed his name.
“We just picked him up from Tucker two months ago,” Duffy said. “He was just trying to do what was right for his wife and kids. He didn’t do nothing.”
“You didn’t have to kill him,” the sobbing woman said. “Trayvon wasn’t enough? You didn’t have to fucking kill him. You didn’t have to kill him. You didn’t have to fucking kill him. Fucking pigs. Motherfucking pigs. Just because we’re in the ghetto?”
Over and over, the weeping woman said: “Can anybody tell me what I’m supposed to tell my kids?”
UPDATE: She later told KATV that the SUV the man was driving was hers and was not stolen.
The angry response prompted the police to barricade 12th Street for more than an hour. Officers were instructed not to go into the gathered crowd.
A woman held a sign with several names, including Bobby Moore’s, that said, “Murdered by the LRPD.”
One man taunted the cops, saying, “What if it was your kid going down the alley? Y’all ain’t perfect.”
Another man shouted, “Fuck America! That’s how I feel.”
About 3 p.m. police tried for a time to make the crowd disperse as an “unlawful assembly,” but then stopped. Few people were leaving. At least one TV station broadcast live from the scene.
At 3:30 p.m., the police largely withdrew from the scene. A SWAT unit left as did the crime scene investigators and most of the dozens of officers who turned out when the crowd gathered. Only a small handful was left at 3:37 p.m. Police Chief Thomas remained on the scene. A large crowd of onlookers remained, but they were more subdued than they had been earlier and some left. A few cans and bottles were thrown earlier in the direction of officers. And, as Thomas wrapped things up, another plastic drink bottle was thrown into the group gathered around the chief.
After the bottle throwing, Thomas said: “It is what it is. It’ll calm down once we’re gone.”
That appeared to be the case.
- Fox 16
- BLUE LINE: Officers were out in force as crowd gathered at scene of police shooting.