Officer shoots man, 48, in chest; He lunged at police in dark, report says
[Fort Worth, TX]

Deanna Boyd; Star-Telegram Staff Writer
February 4, 2001, Sunday Final Edition
Copyright 2001 Star-Telegram Newspaper, Inc.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
February 4, 2001, Sunday Final Edition

(FORT WORTH, Texas) - An officer investigating lights in a boarded-up east Fort Worth house shot one of three men found inside after the man lunged at him, police said Saturday.

Police declined to release the man's name, but the homeowner, Clara Warren, identified him as her son Tommy Warren, 48. He was in serious but stable condition Saturday at John Peter Smith Hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Clara Warren, who lived in the house for 35 years before moving out last year, said that she has repeatedly told police that her two sons are allowed to stay at the home and that she takes issue with officers' actions Friday night.

The shooting marked the third time in four months that an on-duty officer has shot and wounded a suspect. It was also the second shooting of a suspect in less than three years by Officer B.W. Randolph, a seven-year department veteran.

Lt. Duane Paul, a police spokesman, said the Major Case Unit is investigating the shooting, as is routine.

"It appears that procedure was followed, but the investigation is continuing," Paul said.

Police said Randolph and two other officers, all assigned to the east division's Community Response Team, were in the area on unrelated calls about 10 p.m. when they noticed lights inside the house at 1018 E. Allen Ave. The house is boarded up with "No trespassing" spray-painted on plywood covering the home's front windows, Paul said.

"They figured some type of criminal activity was going on inside," Paul said. "They were checking it out."

According to a police report, as the officers approached the house, the lights inside the home were turned off. The officers entered the house and identified themselves as officers but received no reply.

As the officers searched the house, a man confronted Randolph, the report stated.

"The suspect lunged at him, the officer discharged his weapon and struck him one time," Paul said.

Two other men, who have not been identified, were in another room, police said.

Police found drugs and drug paraphernalia inside, but no weapons, Paul said. As of Saturday night, none of the men had been arrested, Paul said.

Since Sept. 1999, 12 police reports involved the East Allen residence, and most included narcotics arrests.

Tommy Warren has been booked into Tarrant County Jail numerous times on dozens of traffic tickets and, since 1999, four times on drug charges, according to Tarrant County court records.

Warren has never been formally charged in the narcotics arrests, records show.

Two police reports - the latest filed Nov. 25 - noted that Clara Warren had told police that her house was vacant and that no one, including her sons, should be on the property.

But Clara Warren, 71, said Saturday that, despite pressure from some family members and police, she changed her mind a couple of months ago because her sons had no place to go.

"If they'd be out at night and it would be raining and cold, I couldn't sleep," she said.

Clara Warren said she told police that her sons could stay at the house. She said the boarded up windows and "No trespassing" sign at the front of the house were intended to keep homeless people away.

"I didn't want the street people to get in there - not my sons," she said. "I didn't care about my sons getting in there."

But Paul said police thought no one lived at the house.

"The information I received is that the officer believed the residence was vacant," he said.

Clara Warren said she believes that police used excessive force. She said a police official told her that her son was shot because he charged the officer and the house was dark.

"He didn't say that my son hit him or had a gun or anything," she said. "I said that wasn't no reason to shoot him because it was dark in the house. They didn't have no search warrant. Legally, my boys aren't evicted, so what are [police] doing in there in the dark?"

After Friday night's shooting, Paul said Randolph, 33, took administrative leave, an option given all officers involved in police-related shootings.

"Last night, he was real upset," Paul said. "He was extremely upset."

In September 1998, Randolph fatally wounded Andrew Szabaczan of Pasadena as the man tried to speed away from a known drug house in the 800 block of East Richmond Ave. with the officer hanging from his van door.

After Randolph stopped him, Szabaczan ignored the officer's order to turn off the van's engine and sped off as the officer reached into the van to turn it off, police have said.

Randolph shot Szabaczan after the man repeatedly struck the officer in the head and face while driving erratically, police said. Szabaczan died the next morning.

The outcome of the major case investigation into that shooting was unknown Saturday night, but police initially said the shooting appeared justified.


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