Police: Sweetwater man wouldn't surrender, fired on officers before death
ABILENE, Texas - Abilene police say a 50-year-old Sweetwater man - during a four-hour standoff Thursday - ignored repeated requests to surrender and fired repeatedly on officers before law enforcement shot and killed him.
Sgt. Lynn Beard, a spokesman for the Abilene Police Department, issued a news release Friday detailing what happened before, during and after Michael Berry was taken to a Rolling Plains Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Here's the Abilene Police Department news release in its entirety:
On June 26, 2014 at approximately 11:45 am, the Abilene Police Department received a request for assistance from the Sweetwater Police Department. Sweetwater PD was in the midst of a felony theft investigation at a residence on West Broadway. During their investigation the suspect, Michael Berry, exited his residence and brandished a firearm in a threatening manner. These actions forced Sweetwater officers to take cover.
Responding to the request for assistance, Abilene PD SWAT Team and Crisis Negotiators responded to the scene. Upon arrival, crisis negotiators began attempting to make contact with the suspect. The suspect refused to surrender after negotiators made in excess of 30 attempts to contact him.
A search warrant was signed at approximately 3:20 pm, authorizing entry into the suspect's residence for the purposes of apprehension. A felony theft warrant for the suspect had already been issued previously. The SWAT team, utilizing the Bearcat for cover, approached the residence in an attempt to deploy tear gas that would hopefully cause the suspect to surrender.
As the Bearcat began that portion of the operation, the suspect began firing at officers. Three officers returned fire striking the suspect and causing him to retreat back inside his residence. The ram on the Bearcat was utilized to remove a portion of the wall in the room where the suspect was hiding. This enabled officers to secure visual contact with the suspect and continue with verbal commands to drop his weapon. The suspect was spotted lying near a bed.
Three officers dismounted the Bearcat and moved forward under the cover of a ballistic shield to arrest the suspect and administer medical attention. As those officers approached, the suspect rose up and again began shooting at the three dismounted officers, two of which returned fire. The suspect continued to resist and fight with officers but was taken into custody and transported to Rolling Plains Medical Center where he was later pronounced deceased.
The Texas Rangers were promptly notified and responded to the scene. Their agency will be conducting an investigation of this incident. As per policy, the Abilene Police Department will also conduct an internal review of these events. The Bearcat received multiple bullet strikes during this incident. No officers were injured. Consistent with standard practice for all officer involved shootings, the five officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.
Respectfully, Sgt. Lynn Beard