Body cam video released by the Fort Worth Police Department showed the final moments of a man who evaded police and the woman he reportedly held hostage during a pursuit from Troy.
Shaelan Hill, 31, and J’Quinnton Hopson, 38, both died during the incident.
Police allege Hill was a hostage forced to drive a vehicle by Hopson. A police pursuit that started in Troy that culminated in Fort Worth on Interstate 35W on Aug. 28.
On Aug. 31, Fort Worth Police Chief Neil Noakes released the footage of two body cams of officers at the scene.
“Please keep in mind that although we are providing this information, the investigation is still in its early stages, and we’re collecting more information,” said Noakes in a video statement to the media. “That information and all evidence will be turned over to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office for review and to the grand jury for review as well.”
The statement continued with a recording of radio communications between officers and dispatch informing other units about a pursuit with a white Toyota Prius at about 7:23 p.m. on Aug. 28.
“Subject is armed with a handgun,” the recording said, noting that the male was threatening to shoot another person in the vehicle.
Noakes said his department joined the pursuit when the car entered its city limits on I-35W heading northbound.
“At the Spur 280 exit, the vehicle collided with a guardrail and came to a stop,” he said.
As officers ordered the occupants outside of the vehicle, Noakes said officers were not able to clearly see inside the car as they approached it.
“It looks like there’s several people in there,” an officer can be heard saying in an internal communications recording. “Looks like he’s got a gun to somebody’s neck. The driver is a female, and it looks like he’s got a gun to her neck.”
“Our dispatch is trying to advise that prior to this line disconnecting, the female advised that she had been shot in the abdomen,” another recording said.
Noakes said at that moment, officers learned Hill was a hostage being held at gunpoint and heard a struggle inside the vehicle.
“Officers heard a gunshot from inside the vehicle,” he said. “Fort Worth PD officers formed a rescue team and approached the vehicle on the driver’s side.”
As officers got closer to the vehicle, they saw Hopson had Hill on top of him, “using her as a human shield,” Noakes said. “Officers gave the suspects multiple commands to drop the weapon that he was pointing at the victim’s abdomen, but he refused to comply.”
Footage from a bodycam showed a group of officers getting in a tactical position and approaching the vehicle with rifles and handguns drawn. An officer in front of the group held a baton and broke the windows of the Prius, starting with the back window and continuing with the back and the front windows on the driver’s side.
Once the front driver window is breached, the video shows Hopson holding a gun in front of a woman as officers are heard giving him commands to drop the weapon.
Hill can be heard pleading with officers saying, “Please get my mother on the phone,” while he continues to hold the gun to the woman.
The video shows about 20 seconds of officers telling Hopson to drop the weapon while he continues pleading with officers. As the footage fades to black, two gunshots can be heard.
A second bodycam video from a different angle showed a handgun and a rifle pointed at Hopson before fading to black, making it unclear which weapon or officer fired the fatal blow.
“Fearing the suspect would shoot the female hostage again, two Fort Worth PD officers fired their weapons, striking the suspect,” Noakes said. “Then, they quickly removed the victim from the vehicle, so medical aid could be provided.”
Heavy traffic in the area would make it difficult for an ambulance to get to the scene. Noakes said officers transported Hill to a local hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
“The suspect was pronounced deceased on scene,” Noakes said.
A portion of the video paused and zoomed in, showing no magazine in the weapon Hill was holding with the slide jammed — which would prevent it from firing — was shown by Noakes.
“Please keep in mind that these body cameras are usually placed around chest level on the officers, and their point of view is higher than the body cameras,” he said. “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.”
He continued by offering thoughts and prayers to those involved.
“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 ways to protect the public,” said Noakes.
The chase began in Troy after the Troy Police Department received reports of a vehicle driving recklessly. The department reported the pursuit involved speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and Hill County Sheriff’s Department deputies joined the pursuit.
The release of video of the officer-involved shooting is similar to a prior video release.
In 2019, former Fort Worth Police officer Aaron Dean shot and killed 28-year-old Attiana Jefferson through a home’s back window while responding to a welfare check call at her mother’s residence. Dean, 37, was charged with murder and released on a $200,000 bond.
Following the shooting, the Fort Worth department released body camera footage that showed Dean walking around the side of the house, entering a fenced backyard, and firing through a window a split second after shouting at Jefferson to show her hands. Dean resigned from the department before he was arrested and charged.