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Armed man killed by Fort Worth police didn’t have magazine loaded when officers approached

J’Quinnton Donye Hopson, 38, had shot a hostage, who died later.

Footage from a Fort Worth officer's body-worn camera
Footage from a Fort Worth officer’s body-worn camera shows the moment an officer broke out the back windshield of a suspect’s vehicle on Sunday.(Fort Worth Police Department)

By Catherine Marfin

An armed man killed by Fort Worth officers Sunday after police say he fatally shot a woman did not have a magazine loaded in his handgun when he was approached by police, police Chief Neil Noakes said Wednesday.

About 7:20 p.m., officers were notified that authorities from Hill County, about 55 miles south of Fort Worth, were pursuing a vehicle driven by a man threatening to shoot a passenger.

Fort Worth police joined the pursuit when the car entered the city on Interstate 35W, Noakes said.

At the Spur 280 exit, the car hit a guardrail and stopped. Officers ordered the people in the car to step out, but had trouble seeing inside because the airbags had deployed and other debris was in the vehicle, Noakes said.

At one point, officers learned the woman in the car had been shot in the abdomen. The man and woman began struggling, and officers heard a gunshot, Noakes said.

The department released two clips of body camera footage Wednesday. In the first clip, four officers are seen standing several yards from the car.

Footage from an officer's body camera
Footage from an officer’s body camera on Aug. 28, 2022.(Fort Worth Police Department)

An officer is heard saying “Rescue, rescue, rescue. Let’s go,” and the group approaches. One officer uses a baton to break the back windshield and a rear window, and the officer wearing the camera uses his rifle to smash the window in.

The footage shows 38-year-old J’Quinnton Donye Hopson holding 31-year-old Shaelan Hill across his body as a human shield, with a black handgun pointed at her midsection.

The officer wearing the camera tells Hopson to drop the gun nine times before a pop is heard and the clip ends.

The second clip shows an officer point his handgun at Hopson as the other officer gives commands.

Hopson is heard saying, “Please get my mother on the phone,” and “Please, father God.”

Noakes said two officers fired their weapons, killing Hopson.

Police took Hill to a hospital in a patrol car. She died at the hospital.

A zoomed-in view of the second clip, which police provided Wednesday, showed the slide of Hopson’s weapon was jammed and there was no magazine in the gun.

Noakes said those details would have been difficult for officers to see from their vantage points.

Footage from an officer’s body camera shows that the suspect’s gun did not have a magazine in it when Fort Worth police officers fatally shot him on Aug. 28, 2022.(Fort Worth Police Department)

“It is important to remember that our officers were faced with a hostage situation involving a man holding a gun against a woman that he had already shot, causing life-threatening injuries, who was refusing to comply with orders,” Noakes said.

Noakes did not identify the officers who responded to the scene.

He said the department is investigating the incident and will refer the materials to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone involved in and affected by this tragic incident,” Noakes said. “It’s another vivid reminder of just how dangerous and violent offenders can become and about the bravery of officers who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public.”

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