MESQUITE, Texas (AP) — Police in suburban Dallas on Friday released video of officers’ fatally shooting a domestic violence suspect, showing him charging at officers with a club and box cutter and shouting, “Shoot! Shoot!”
The video from a Mesquite police officer’s body camera showed the Tuesday killing of Ashton Pinke, 27, and the moments leading up to it.
At a news conference, Mesquite police Lt. Stephen Biggs said officers had responded to 911 calls before at the apartment from which the Tuesday call came. An audio recording of the Tuesday call played at a Friday news conference captured the sounds of a screaming couple, including a woman repeatedly saying, “Don’t hit me.” A dispatcher is heard advising responding officers that Pinke had a history of depression and bipolar disorder.
The body camera video started with an officer knocking at the front door of the apartment and Pinke opening it slightly, calmly denying that a disturbance had occurred, then closing and locking the door.
The officer, whose identity was not released, knocked again, and a woman emerged with a child, telling the officer that Pinke had hit her and was armed with a knife.
After another officer arrived, Pinke lowered himself from the second floor of the apartment. After the officers repeatedly said, “Don’t do it!” Pinke is heard shouting, “Shoot! Shoot!” He charged at the officers, who shot him five times. He dropped the stick as he fell, then a box cutter as he writhed on the ground. The officers were not injured, police said.
Pinke’s family had said the incident should have been handled as a mental health check instead of a domestic violence call and questioned why the officers didn’t try to deescalate the situation.
Biggs said the woman, who was not identified, told officers that Pinke had told her he would not be taken alive after the initial contact with the officer. He also said that while both officers had stun guns, the fatal confrontation was too close and sudden for their use.
“The suspect was wielding two deadly weapons, and we’re not countering two deadly weapons with a less-lethal device,” Biggs said.
Both officers involved in the shooting, with more than 20 years of experience each, have been placed on paid leave while the department and Dallas County prosecutors investigate.