Wichita Falls Police hadn't had to shoot at a subject since 2007. That changed this year with three shootings so far. Newschannel 6 is asking tough questions of Department leaders to see what brought the rise in numbers.
Deputy Chief Manuel Borrego said it just comes with the territory. "We work in an environment where you just never know what you're getting into," he said. The risk of violence that must be met with use of force is an everyday reality for officers.
Sunday night, Officers Michael Goins, Michael Brown and Sgt. John Spragins went to assist Jeffery Cole Royal, 21. 911 Dispatchers got a call that Royal had a rifle to his head in a car. When the three got to the car on Becky, they say Royal got out. "The subject confronted them with his weapon," said Officer Brandie Young.
It is still under investigation to see exactly what happened, but shots were fired, and Royal died at the scene.
In August, officers say they were forced to pull the trigger on Anthony Beaty at the Taft Haus Apartments. They say he threatened them with a weapon. Then in September, officers shot Jamell Donuell Brooks. They said brooks pulled a gun on a sergeant in the 1100 block of Austin. Both Beaty and Brooks survived.
The Deputy Chief said Officers are continually trained to be able to handle any situation, including use of force. "We always look at using one force above the force that is being used on us, but that's not always the case and its going to be dictated by what's going on in the field, how that person is reacting to the officer and just the situation that's happening," he said.
Borrego said the use of force policy would allow officers to fire on a suspect that pointed a rifle on them, as those at the scene say Royal did. "Whatever level of threat that is being forced upon you is how you react to it… Unfortunately, out there, the reaction of the suspect or the other person just causes us to have to react at a level of force that is fatal," said Borrego.
Right now, there are two separate investigations underway into Sunday's shooting. First, detectives will be investigating what led to Royal pulling the rifle on officers. Since the officers used deadly force, the WFPD Office of Professional Conduct will also conduct an internal investigation.