Armed murder suspect posed no threat when killed by Forest Hill officer, warrant says

·4 min read

A Forest Hill police officer who shot and killed a murder suspect this summer has been arrested and faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the case, according to a Texas Rangers warrant.

Forest Hill Officer Logan Barr, 23, fired his shotgun twice at 32-year-old Michael Lee Ross Jr. on the morning of June 9, killing the armed suspect

Texas Ranger Eisenhower Upshaw determined that Ross, who held a knife, posed no threat and was as far as 20 feet away from Forest Hill officers when he was found in a creek, according to the warrant obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Wednesday.

KXAS-TV reported Barr was arrested last week and released a few hours later. Tarrant County court records showed that Barr had not been formally charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant as of Wednesday.

Forest Hill police officials could not be reached Wednesday morning for comment.

The warrant written by Upshaw gave this account of the shooting, much of it based on an officer’s body camera video:

Forest Hill officers had responded to a stabbing call on the morning of June 9 in a Quik Trip parking lot at 6549 Wichita St.

When they arrived, officers found a woman identified as Kieona Hall with stab wounds. She was taken to a local hospital, where she later died.

Ross, who Forest Hill police identified as a suspect in the stabbing, was found hiding in a creek just north of the Quik Trip.

Barr and another officer can be heard on the video shouting to Ross to drop the knife. A Forest Hill sergeant arrived on the scene and also began to order Ross to drop the knife.

The video showed Barr and the sergeant pointing handguns at Ross as he stood near the creek as the officers continually commanded the suspect to drop the knife. Barr stood at the top of an embankment on the south side while the sergeant stood on an embankment on the north end.

At some point, the sergeant went to his vehicle and retrieved a “less than lethal” shotgun, which was captured on his body camera video. Ross paced back and forth in the creek as the sergeant returned and said, “Don’t (expletive) run, dude.”

As Ross stood in the creek, the sergeant fired four beanbag shots in succession, knocking Ross into the water on the fourth shot, according to the warrant.

Ross stood back up, still holding the knife, but he later collapsed near a concrete block.

The sergeant yelled at Barr, “Hey, go get your shotgun,” and commanded him a second time, “Go get your shotgun, less lethal shotgun.”

After being told, “less lethal shotgun,” Barr is seen going to his vehicle’s driver’s side door, opening the door and retrieving a black shotgun.

Barr radioed, “Shotgun deployed,” and the sergeant told Barr, “Shoot him,” according to the warrant.

The warrant stated that Ross was still unsteady on his feet with his pants down around his thighs, turning and walking away from the officers’ position. Ross turned back facing the officers when Barr fired two shots at Ross, causing the suspect to fall to the ground.

As he approached Ross, the sergeant shot at Ross’s barking dog and continued to shout commands at Ross to drop the knife.

Minutes later, Barr asked the sergeant, “Do I need to get the casings from the lethal shotgun?”

In a news release a few hours after the shooting, Forest Hill police said the suspect attempted to harm himself with the knife and at one point the suspect turned toward an officer with the knife in hand.

But in the warrant, the Texas Ranger said he did not see Ross attempt to stab himself based on the officer’s body camera video, and the suspect never made any verbal threats, nor did he raise the knife in a threatening manner toward the officers, attempt to climb the muddy embankment toward the officers or make any effort to run away.

Ross was shot while facing Barr and the sergeant with his hands down by his side, holding the knife in his right hand, according to the warrant.

Ross was about 15 to 20 feet from the officers while holding the knife.

“Ross did not pose a reasonable and immediate threat of death or bodily injury to the officers or others when he was shot,” Upshaw wrote in the warrant.

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