FORT WORTH, TEXAS- It seems gun violence marked much of Christmas Day in Fort Worth, Texas, as national headlines revealed the disturbing story of a massacre in an apartment in the area, wherein a man dressed as Santa killed six family members before turning the gun on himself.
Sadly, the tragedy was not the sole instance of gun-related death in Fort Worth on December 25th. A 29-year-old man described as a troubled veteran has also died after brandishing a gun during the holiday and refusing to drop the weapon on police orders. The exact circumstances surrounding the eventual death of the young man, Christopher Johnston, have not been clarified, but some reports indicate that police were responding to calls about of gunshots fired into the air (an occasional occurrence, albeit a dangerous one, for celebrations.) Another report said police responded to a report of gunshots fired at houses.
Upon arrival, police confronted Johnston, who reports indicate was distressed and may have been threatening to shoot himself in the head. Chief of Staff of Fort Worth Police Department Major Paul Henderson recounted what happened next to the media:
“The subject opened fire on the officers striking a patrol vehicle at least three times. Officers returned fire striking the subject causing him to cease his aggression. The subject subsequently expired on the scene.”
Paramedics on the scene reportedly attempted to resuscitate Johnston for several minutes, but were unable to revive him. Debbie Smith, a neighbor of Johnston’s, described what happened just before the shooting:
“He didn’t walk out of the house,” Smith said. “It was like in a movie. He was saying something to the police. The policeman had a rifle and he was still coming so [the officer] shot him and that was it.”
Officers involved in the shooting are being advised to “take time off” to recover following the incident.