A South Dallas police officer chased and fatally shot an unarmed man on Tuesday, angering a crowd of several hundred local residents who gathered in protest of the incident. At around 5 pm, Officer Brian Rowden shot James Harper, 31, during a fight in which Harper was trying to escape. Three officers had arrived at the scene in response to a fake 911 call, in which the caller said a man had been kidnapped and taken to the house. Police now suspect that a drug gang made the call to expose their rival’s drug house, said Dallas Police Chief David Brown in a press conference
“I don’t doubt that this was bogus and that this was some rivalry, and that we got in the middle of it – being drawn in through this bogus reasoning,” he said.“This 911 call doesn’t make sense, the way it came out.”
After arriving at the scene and finding crack cocaine inside and around the home, police pursued four people who tried to escape – among them Harper. After being chased down an alley and hopping three fences, Harper allegedly fought the police officer who pursued him, telling Harper, “you’re going to have to kill me.” After the third first fight, Rowden took out his gun and shot Harper. The officer claimed he shot Harper in fear of his own life. He said he was exhausted and losing the fight – but Rowden did not require hospitalization.
Angry crowds gathering at the scene of the shooting believed that the victim was shot in the back – indicating the victim was running away. But Brown claims the officer shot Harper in the stomach and the hand, which designates a fight. Medical examiners have not yet determined where the man was shot.