Man shot by local officers expected to recover

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HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (KWTX) A man who was shot by officers after a confrontation outside of a Harker Heights trailer park remained in Scott & White Medical Center in Temple Thursday, but is expected to recover, police said.

(Photo by Kathleen Serie)

“We are thankful the person seems to be OK and on the road to recovery,” police Chief Mike Gentry said Thursday.

The man, whose name has not been released, was taken to Scott & White after he was shot just after 4 p.m. Wednesday at Big Oaks Estates at 521 East Veterans Memorial Blvd. in Harker Heights.

Officers were sent to the area after police received a report of a man who was acting suspiciously and stumbling into traffic.

The officers negotiated with the man for a period of time, Gentry said, but opened fire when he pulled what looked like a weapon from his pocket and pointed it in their direction.

Police declined to say what the object actually was, but a source with direct knowledge of the incident says it was a tobacco vaporizer with a rectangular battery case and a stem that could easily be mistaken for a handgun.

Gentry said the officers acted in part because of the number of bystanders in the area and concern for their safety.

“The item as observed at the scene by all the bystanders and police officers appeared to be a gun,” Gentry said.

“We believe our officers acted correctly,” he said.

Witness accounts confirmed that the man clearly provoked the officers, Gentry said.

The two officers were placed on nondisciplinary administrative duty, Gentry said.

That's routine after officer-involved shootings.

Texas Rangers are investigating.

The Harker Heights Police Department was recently awarded a grant for body cameras for officers, but the cameras haven not yet been purchased.