The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Police release reports on January shooting on SE

by Karen Gavis/reporter

A Grand Prairie police officer who shot and killed a 22-year-old ex-Marine in January on SE Campus will not go to trial.

The case was “no-billed” by a grand jury June 19, Tarrant County assistant district attorney Ashley Fourt said. A “no bill” means a grand jury determined a case lacks the evidence needed for an indictment.

Before being shot four times by Grand Prairie police officer Wesley Bement, Jordan Ross Hatcher, who was suspected of theft at a nearby Target store, fought with police and refused to get down or be taken down, according to reports.

A Tarrant County medical examiner’s autopsy report said Hatcher died from multiple gunshot wounds to the chest Jan. 24. The full report, released in June, revealed Hatcher was shot four times from a distance: twice in the left arm, once in the back and once in the chest with additional re-entry wounds in the chest.

Wearing camouflage cutoffs, Hatcher was tangled in Taser wire, the medical examiner’s report said.

Arlington police detective Byron Stewart, who investigated the homicide, declined to comment on the case. Arlington police initially asked the state attorney general’s office to withhold information from the investigation. However, the office released the police reports July 15.

A Grand Prairie police report said Hatcher and a friend were theft suspects at a nearby Target store, where Hatcher was suspected of stealing a Wii game controller valued at $49.99. Target theft prevention employees tried to stop Hatcher, who fought them off. Hatcher ignored Grand Prairie police officer Alvin Sharp’s verbal commands to stop fighting and struck the officer, the report said.

According to an Arlington police report, a Target store video showed Hatcher knocking Sharp to the ground. Sharp later pointed a Taser at Hatcher’s face causing Hatcher to run away.

Sharp’s report said he attempted to use the Taser on Hatcher’s back. When Hatcher fled, Sharp requested the aid of additional officers. A foot chase ensued through a wooded area ending in SE Campus’ south parking lot.

According to Arlington’s police report, Bement picked up the chase believing Hatcher to be armed with a knife as initial reports had said. After locating Hatcher, Bement ordered the ex-Marine to “get down,” but Hatcher, who was unarmed, refused.

Bement commanded a TCC police officer to use the Taser on Hatcher, but the officer shrugged his shoulders saying he did not have a Taser, the police report said. Several TCC officers and Bement then surrounded Hatcher.

“I clearly saw one arm trying to be taken behind his back, and then I saw another officer trying to take him by the neck,” said witness Melinda Craig in an incident report. “It was like the fourth or fifth action of trying to get this person to do something. He’s still just standing there strong. Up to this point, I never saw anything in the hands of the Caucasian male with the camouflage pants on.”

Later in the report, Craig said, “I turn around, and now there is yellow foam that they are spraying on this guy’s head all over him.”

Bement in the report said his Taser did not activate the first time, and the second attempt seemed to have no effect on Hatcher. After uttering an expletive, Bement said he then attempted on Hatcher a “drive stun,” a more severe use of the taser applied directly to the skin, while several TCC officers used pepper spray on the 22-year-old. Still, Hatcher would not go down.

“From all officers’ account, the OC Spray [or pepper spray] had little to no effect on Jordan who was clearly not complying with uniformed officer’s demand,” the report said.

TCC police officer Shamika Denson said during the investigation that at one point she yelled, “Team! Take him down now!” but felt none of the officers moved, so she pepper sprayed Hatcher directly in the face. Denson said Hatcher was squinting and wiping his eyes and she was about to approach him a second time “to spray him once again when she heard several gunshots.”

According to Bement, Hatcher was in the process of attacking Denson and now held the Taser, which caused Bement to fear for his life, the investigation report said. That’s when the shots were fired.

“He was my son,” Michelle Hansford posted about Hatcher on www.innocentdown.org, a website documenting victims of police violence. “Surrounded by police, why would a 22-year-old man take a Taser away from a police officer if it wasn’t being used as an abusive weapon on him?” she asked.

Grand Prairie police detective Lyle Gensler said Bement remains a member of the Grand Prairie police department where he has been employed for 16 years.

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