AUSTIN,, Texas — Officials said a police officer has shot and killed a 70-year-old U.S. Navy veteran on Friday after he allegedly refused to surrender his gun and then aimed his weapon at the officer.
Police Chief Art Acevedo said at a news conference that John Schaefer called 911 about 7:20 a.m. to report that he had shot and killed a pit bull that attacked him. Officers reportedly asked dispatchers to call Schaefer back and tell him to put his gun in the house before officers arrived.
Acevedo said Schaefer refused, and he refused again when officer Jonathan Whitted got to the residence and asked Schaefer to hand over the pistol he saw tucked in his waistband.
When Whitted went to take the gun, Schaefer allegedly pulled it out and aimed it at the officer, Acevedo said. Whitted then shot and killed Schaefer. Neighbors, including one man who said he witnessed the incident, said they heard two shots.
It’s not unusual for a police officer to separate an unknown person from a firearm when responding to a situation, even if that person is legally allowed to carry a weapon, according to Lt. Ely Reyes on Friday.
Meanwhile, Schaefer’s family is grappling with the loss of a man they called a rule follower. Victoria Schaefer, his daughter-in-law, said Saturday John Schaefer was a proud longtime Austin resident.
She spoke to the American-Statesman by phone from her father-in-law’s home, where she was collecting belongings that were important to him.
Records show John Schaefer has owned the lot with his mother since 1997, but his daughter-in-law said he lived alone in the duplex on Lanshire Drive after his mother’s death almost two years ago. Her death was hard on him, she said.
He was a gun enthusiast who belonged to area gun clubs, she said, including the Austin Rifle Club, where he was an instructor. He went the shooting range on Tuesdays.
“He was an elderly, nice, peaceful man,” she said.