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Probe: Suspect fatally shot by Texas officer posed no threat

August 5, 2021 GMT

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A murder suspect who was wielding a knife posed no immediate safety threat when a Texas police officer fatally shot him from as far as 20 feet away, state investigators said in charging the officer with assault.

Forest Hill Officer Logan Barr, 23, faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the shooting death of 32-year-old Michael Lee Ross Jr., the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Barr responded to a call on June 9 in a convenience story parking lot and found a woman identified as Kieona Hall with stab wounds and Ross hiding in a creek near the parking lot. Hall later was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Texas Ranger Eisenhower Upshaw determined that Ross, who held a knife, posed no threat and was as far as 20 feet away from Forest Hill officers when he was found in a creek, according to a warrant.

Barr and another officer can be heard on the video shouting to Ross to drop the knife. A Forest Hill sergeant arrived on the scene and also began to order Ross to drop the knife.

In a news release a few hours after the shooting, Forest Hill police said the suspect attempted to harm himself with the knife.

Upshaw said in the warrant he did not see Ross attempt to stab himself based on the officer’s body camera video,. He also said the suspect never made any verbal threats, raise the knife in a threatening manner toward the officers, attempt to climb the muddy embankment toward the officers or make any effort to run away.

“The Texas Rangers have examined the known facts and circumstances of the case to this point in the investigation,” according to statement released Wednesday by officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety. “Rangers are waiting on the final autopsy report from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner. Depending upon the results of the Medical Examiner’s report, the charge may change. The investigation is ongoing and no additional information is currently available.”

The Star-Telegram could not reach Forest Hill police officials for comment.