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Tip from father leads Fort Worth police to thwart potential mass shooting plan

Jack Howland, Fort Worth Star-Telegram on

Published in News & Features

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A 27-year-old man, who was well known to the Fort Worth Police Department, hadn't been taking his medication and was getting worse, talking about thoughts of harming people, his father told a 911 dispatcher last week.

His son, he worried, could carry out a mass shooting. And police had to know about it.

An off-duty officer who had interacted with the man before got a voicemail about the father's call around lunchtime on Sept. 3, according to Officer Landon Rollins, a member of the three-person Crisis Intervention Team. He understood the importance of the message, so he contacted police right away, Rollins said. Officers launched a fast-moving response.

The father gave general areas of where his son might be, Rollins said, and a team of officers canvassed those spots. They eventually found him around 1 p.m., appearing to be disoriented and in the throes of a mental health crisis.

He had been to multiple businesses looking to buy a gun but was turned down because background checks showed he wasn't allowed to do so, according to police. He had resorted to looking to buy a gun off the street, "which we all know is very accessible" and "you can get it done," Rollins said.

When he and the other officers came up to the man, he said he wasn't living in reality, saying he believed he had died and he was in hell.

 

"He believed I was trying to kill him right then and there with my mind," Rollins said during a press conference Tuesday outside of the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex. "When asked why he was trying to obtain a weapon, he was just very flat and blunt -- to kill people."

The man, whose identity wasn't released, had taken out large amounts of money from his bank account and had $600-$700 on him, police said. He reportedly mentioned wanting to kill people in Fort Worth, where he's a resident, but didn't specify where.

Many people should be applauded for the thwarted potential mass shooting, police said, from the father who had the quick thinking to call police to the businesses that rightfully refused to sell the man a gun.

Police also described the incident as a success for the Crisis Intervention Team, which -- since its launch in August 2017 -- has worked to prevent acts of violence by building relationships with community members who could have suicidal or homicidal tendencies.

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