[Hpn] Houston, TX - Board-wielding homeless man shot by officer - Houston Chronicle - August 3, 2002

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Sun, 04 Aug 2002 00:37:02 -0500

Board-wielding homeless man shot by officer 

By PEGGY O'HARE - Houston Chronicle - August 3, 2002

A homeless man was in critical condition today after being 
shot in southeast Houston by a police officer he had threatened
with a piece of lumber.

John Milton Forderson Jr., 55, was shot once during the
confrontation with Houston police officer Erick F. Westrup, a
police report shows. The bullet went through the homeless man's
elbow and into his chest, said police spokesman Alvin Wright.

The officer opened fire after Forderson swung a 2-by-4 at him and
forced him to back up more than 80 feet until he was standing in
the middle of the intersection of Cullen and Larkspur, Wright

The confrontation happened around 3:30 a.m. in the Sunnyside area
when the officer found Forderson asleep in the middle of the
street in the 4600 block of Larkspur, Wright said. 

Police reports described Forderson as a homeless man feared by 
residents in the neighborhood because he is suspected of having 
drug and alcohol problems.

Police said that when Westrup went up to the man, Forderson stood
up, grabbed the piece of wood and began swinging it at the
officer, telling him, "Somebody is going to die, and it won't be

The officer radioed for help and asked for a Houston Police
Department Crisis Intervention Team to respond because he
suspected the man might be mentally ill, Wright said.

The officer backed up from the man and called for him to drop the
club and stop moving forward. After walking back more than 80
feet and being forced into the intersection, Westrup was forced
to shoot the man to avoid being beaten with the board, the police
report said.

After shooting the man, the officer was able to take the board
away from him, police said. Forderson was taken to Memorial
Hermann Hospital, and police reports issued this morning said he
is expected to live.

He will be charged with aggravated assault on a police officer if
he survives, police said.

The shooting is being investigated by HPD Homicide, Internal
Affairs and the Harris County District Attorney's Civil Rights
Team. It was not immediately known what will become of the
officer or if his duties will change as the investigation

source page:  HoustonChronicle.com

Homeless and Housing News Service