It took two days for Fort Worth police to admit they shot and killed a man pointing a flashlight at them.
Prior to acknowledging that mishap, police told local media that Cody Seals “presented a threat” to them by pointing a weapon but not specifying the type of weapon, ensuring a description of an “armed” suspect in headlines the following day.
Now Fort Worth police are saying Seals took a “shooting stance” with the flashlight, pointing it at an officer who got scared for his life and opened fire Saturday evening.
That still does not explain why police reported it as a weapon after the shooting because presumably they would have discovered it was a flashlight in the minutes after the shooting.
But they apparently needed time to get their story together as to why only one of their SWAT team officers believed Seals had a weapon. This is how it is now being reported, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Police soon learned that Seals, 38, had extensive military training, was possibly suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, and had access to multiple weapons, police said.
While officers were trying to speak with Seals, he came out of the front door and assumed what was described as a shooting stance, with both arms out in front of him while holding an object that looked like a weapon-mounted lighting system, police stated.
Seals “turned toward an officer, still locked out in a shooting stance, pointing the object at an officer,” the statement said. “Believing the officer or other officers were about to be fired upon, a SWAT officer responded with deadly force.”
Police later determined the object Seals was holding when he was shot was a flashlight.
And this is how it was reported in the same publication on Sunday:
SWAT officers responded and attempted to negotiate with the man. Officers say sometime later the man walked out the front door “and presented a threat to SWAT officers” who responded with deadly force.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured.
The incident is under investigation by Fort Worth police major case detectives and well as Fort Worth police internal affairs unit. Findings will be presented to the Tarrant County District Attorney for review.
The SWAT officer has been on the force for 10 years and has been placed on administrative leave, which police say is standard procedure.
So now the main question is why was a SWAT officer with a decade’s of professional experience the only cop on the scene to believe the flashlight was a rifle?