VIDEO | Man, Local Police Exchange Gunfire

Police Line | Image by carl ballou/Shutterstock

The Fort Worth Police Department has released body-camera footage of a police-involved shooting incident on March 14 that resulted in the hospitalization of a 64-year-old man. The selected audio and video clips were narrated by Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes.

Police identified the man as Robert Ramos and said he was taken to the hospital in stable condition. He has been charged with aggravated assault of a public servant.

Ramos’ wife called 911 at approximately 7:39 p.m., telling them that her husband was drunk and suicidal. She also told police he had found her 9mm handgun, which had been kept in a safe, and begun threatening her.

When officers arrived at his home, they reportedly observed Ramos sitting on the porch, holding a handgun. One officer tried to talk Ramos down and peacefully resolve the situation from across the street for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Ramos apparently walked around the front yard with the handgun.

Two other officers moved into positions that would allow them to better detain Ramos.

Ramos refused to put down the gun, repeatedly saying “F**k you” to the officer. Ramos then allegedly moved behind a tree near the driveway and fired three shots.

Fort Worth’s crisis intervention team was heading to the location, but out of concern for the safety of the officer across the street, the other two officers began firing their weapons at Ramos. The officer across the street also began returning fire in response to Ramos.

No one other than Ramos was injured during the incident. After he was shot, officers ran to him, grabbed the firearm, and began rendering first aid.

Noakes said that officers do not plan to use their weapons when responding to calls, but “because of the threat posed to the public by Ramos, officers had to take action immediately to make sure they protected the citizens in the area.”

The chief praised the officer who was heard speaking with Ramos in the body-camera footage, noting that he was a certified mental health peace officer. Noakes said his goal is for every officer to achieve the same certification.

Since the crisis intervention team could not make it to the scene before the shooting, Noakes added the department is discussing how the group can more efficiently respond to crisis situations.

The officers involved were placed on standard administrative leave but have now returned to duty. The shooting remains under investigation, and the department released the audio and video to demonstrate transparency and continue building the community’s trust in their local police.

Chief Noakes highlighted that although they do not always face gunfire, police officers face inherent dangers daily when serving communities. He also emphasized the importance of mental health and urged anyone struggling with mental health issues to reach out for help.

“I ask anyone who is suffering from mental wellness issues, please reach out for help,” said Noakes, per NBC 5 DFW. “Because the last thing an officer wants to do is come to work, face a situation like this and have to use their weapon.”

In the city of Dallas, weapon-related violence continues to be a problem. So far this year, aggravated assaults with a firearm are up 10.74%, while murders involving a gun are up 32. 61%, according to the City’s crime statistics dashboard. Incidents of deadly conduct involving the discharge of a firearm are up a whopping 221.43% so far this year compared to the same time frame last year.

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