The police records released today include a transcript of investigator's interview with Officer Jason Walters, the police officer who responded to the 911 call of a drunk transient in Hoyt Arboretum on March 22nd and wound up shooting Jack Collins. The interview provides an interesting insight into the thinking of the officer before he pulled the trigger.
Officer Walters told investigators that he was feeling fine on the day of the shooting. He hadn't drunk any alcohol, he wasn't on any drugs. The day before, Walters had wrapped up work, biked home, played games with his kids and watched a NOVA documentary before going to bed at nine o’clock or so. He woke up at 5AM to get to work on time. Just a regular day.
Walters told the investigators that he was pretty confident when he responded to the scene. He had worked in the area for five years and had a “good rapport with transients in the area.” Walters slipped on rubber gloves to keep his hands clean and knocked twice on the restroom door, where a witness said Collins was inside. The bathroom door opened and Walters stepped back as Collins emerged. Collins’ beard, neck and hands were covered in blood. From the report:
Officer Walters said he was asking the subject, “What’s wrong,” and “What’s wrong with you?” Officer Walters said he then looked at the subject’s left hand and saw he was holding an “Exacto” style knife, and said the knife was upright with a razor tip for a blade. Officer Walters said the knife was bloody, and said it was being held upright tilted towards Officer Walters.
Officer Walters said he was surprised because he was not expecting a bloody guy holding a knife to open the door and Officer Walters said it took a second to register what was occurring… I asked Officer Walters where the subject was looking and Officer Walters said the subject was looking right at him. Officer Walters said it was odd that he was asking the subject questions, however the subject was not responding to the questions.
Things started happening quickly. Officer Walters starts backing up. The interviewer asks how Walters was feeling, what was he thinking at this point?
Read the 456 pages of police reports on the Collins' shooting here.