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Man shot by Denton police was from Kansas; medical examiner working to notify family

The man police fatally shot Monday afternoon has been identified as a 45-year-old Kansas resident, according to officials with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office. 

Troy Taylor, a spokesman for the office, said investigators are still trying to contact the man's family members before they release his name. Death investigators confirmed his identity using fingerprints, as the man did not have any forms of identification with him, Taylor said. Records show his last known address was Lawrence, Kansas, Taylor said. 


The man was accused of threatening two patrol officers with a knife and advancing on the officers with the weapon Monday in a wooded area on Spencer Road east of Woodrow Lane. One officer shot the man in a clearing about 50 yards north of Spencer Road, Denton police spokesman Bryan Cose said. 

The officer, who has not been identified, was placed on administrative leave, as required by the department's policy. The Texas Rangers are still investigating the circumstances behind the shooting, as well as the Denton Police Department's office of professional standards, Cose said. 

The incident started at 3:15 p.m., when the two Denton police officers were filling out a crash report in a patrol unit. The patrol car had been parked on the east side of the Goodson Engineering building at 1500 Spencer Road, Cose said. 

Patrol officers typically work from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during their day shift. At the time, the officers had roughly three hours left in their shift, Cose said. 

He said the two officers had most recently responded to an "assist citizen" call that came in at about 1:30 p.m. Cose said he didn't know whether the officers were filling out a crash report from that call or a vehicle crash earlier in the day. 

"I don't know what the crash report was, if it was even related to the prior call or if they were catching up on paperwork from earlier in the shift," Cose said, adding that it's typical for officers to park and fill out paperwork while on patrol. 

As the officers sat in the patrol unit, a man approached them from the back of the vehicle and started yelling, according to an email late Monday from Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Lonny Haschel. 

Haschel said when officers got out of the vehicle to check on the man, he pulled a knife. 

The suspect, Haschel said, taunted the officers as he walked away toward a wooded area near the northeast corner of Spencer Road and South Woodrow Lane. While ignoring officers' instructions to stop, the man disappeared into the wooded area as the officers followed, police said. 

The officers had been attempting to detain the man, Cose said. 

"Certainly there was some concern about allowing that individual to walk back into the public without determining what the circumstances were," Cose said. 

The man, who was still holding the knife, appeared from the tree line again, police said. 

Haschel said the suspect was being aggressive toward the officers, so one of the officers used a Taser on the man. The suspect went to the ground and got back up, continuing to threaten the officers with the knife, Haschel said.

When the man advanced on the officer with the knife, one officer fired their sidearm in a clearing about 50 yards north of Spencer Road, police said. It's unclear how many times the man was shot. 

Police called for emergency medical services, but the man succumbed to his injuries at the scene. 

Taylor, the medical examiner spokesman, said the man had been wearing a pair of khaki-colored pants under his jeans at the time of his death. 

The Denton Police Department declined to release video footage from dashboard or body cameras, citing the ongoing investigation. 

Cose said the Texas Rangers are still investigating whether anyone witnessed the incident. The WatersEdge apartment complex, which sits about 200 yards south of the shooting location, is the nearest residential property.  

The officer who fired the gun notified Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT), which provides officers with legal counseling and assistance with negotiating better pay and benefits.

CLEAT typically sends legal representation to any officer involved in a shooting. Charley Wilkison, the organization's executive director, said Denton's shooting was the 12th time the Texas organization has been called to assist an officer who fired their weapon in 2018. 

The last fatal police shooting in Denton occurred in December 2015, when University of North Texas police Cpl. Stephen Bean shot and killed UNT sophomore Ryan McMillan in the Fry Street bar area. 

McMillan had been holding a hatchet at the time of the shooting. 

The last time a Denton police officer shot and killed a person was July 2012. At the time, 26-year-old Justin Beltran confronted Denton police with an AK-47 rifle on a driveway on Hartlee Field Road, according previous reports in the Denton Record-Chronicle. 

Denton police contacted Beltran while investigating a call about shots fired in a neighborhood. Beltran had left the scene in a vehicle, and two officers followed him until he stopped in the driveway and got out of the vehicle holding the rifle. 

He was shot after he refused to put the weapon down, according to earlier reports. 

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6882.