A Fort Worth man says a police officer shot him in the back five times in 2020 as he slept inside a motel room.
Tracy Langiano still has debilitating injuries from the shooting in July 2020, according to a lawsuit he filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas on July 1. The police officer who shot him, Officer Landon Rollins, was working on the Fort Worth Police Department’s Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team when he shot Langiano.
Rollins reported that Langiano pointed a gun at him, and an internal investigation by the police department determined Langiano pointed a weapon. Langiano, however, disputes this claim, saying that he was asleep when he was shot.
In April 2021, Rollins was suspended for 15 days for violating several Fort Worth police policies during the shooting. The lawsuit names the city of Fort Worth and Rollins as defendants.
The suit says Rollins violated Langiano’s Fourth Amendment rights by using “unnecessary, unjustified and excessive force,” and that the city provided inadequate training. The suit asks for a jury trial and unspecified damages.
Rollins’ attorney said in a statement that Rollins is one of the most decorated police officers in the state and he “attempted to make contact with the reportedly suicidal Mr. Langiano in order to try to stop him from taking his own life.”
“Only after Langiano pointed his gun at Officer Rollins was Rollins forced to fire his own weapon in self-defense,” attorney Ken East said in the statement.
A Fort Worth city spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment. The city does not typically comment on pending litigation.
‘Don’t grab it’
On July 28, 2020, Langiano was experiencing mental health problems, according to the lawsuit. He packed a small bag of things, including his licensed firearm. At 3 a.m., he checked into the Express Inn room in the 8400 block of the West Freeway service road and went to sleep. Police later said Langiano had written a suicide note.
Langiano’s son was worried about him, and he called Fort Worth police to ask someone to check on his father, saying he might try to hurt himself. In the meantime, Langiano woke up at the motel, went to a nearby gas station to get some food, called his son to let him know he was doing OK and went back to sleep.
He was lying on his left side with his back to the door, and the gun was in a holster on the nightstand, according to the suit.
Rollins and two other officers with the Crisis Intervention Team went to the motel for a welfare check on Langiano at his son’s request. According to the Fort Worth Police Department, the main purpose of the CIT team is to reduce the “hazards associated with interactions between law enforcement and people suffering from a mental illness.”
Rollins got a key card to Langiano’s room and, without knocking or announcing himself, unlocked the door with his gun drawn, according to a disciplinary report from the Fort Worth Police Department. A deadbolt was across the door and, still without announcing himself as an officer, Rollins broke through the door. A video released by the police department showed the next 20 seconds from the body camera of the officer behind Rollins.
The video shows within three seconds, Rollins pushes into the dark room, turns to his left and starts to speak before he stops short.
“No, no, no,” Rollins says in the video. “Gun!”
Rollins backs up a step and starts shooting. He fires six times, shooting Langiano five times, according to the disciplinary report. In the video, the inside of the hotel room is not visible.
“Don’t grab it,” Rollins says three times at the end of the 20-second video.
Langiano “had not turned over, was not facing Rollins, did not have a weapon and was not reaching for his holstered weapon,” according to the lawsuit.
An internal investigation determined that Rollins violated several policies when he shot Langiano, but none of those violations were for him shooting Langiano. According to the disciplinary report, Rollins violated Fort Worth Police Department policy by not wearing a police uniform and not announcing himself as an officer, not wearing a body camera and breaking into the room without a warrant. The video shows Rollins was wearing plain clothes and a police ballistic vest.
He was suspended for 15 days without pay for these violations.
A grand jury declined to indict Rollins in connection with the shooting, a police department spokesman said.
The CIT Team
Rollins was named the 2017 Officer of the Year for the Fort Worth Police Department and worked with the department for six years. He no longer works for the department, a police spokesman said.
In 2019, Rollins spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about the CIT team after the team responded to a call from a father who told Fort Worth police his son might be planning a mass shooting.
At the time, Rollins said the CIT’s main goal in Fort Worth “is to prevent the next mass shooting from happening within our city limits and in our county.”
The team members take mental health training and have recovered 325 weapons from people who may have threatened themselves or others since the team’s inception in August 2017, Rollins said at the time.
According to the Lake Worth city website, he is now the field operations commander for the Lake Worth Police Department.
Lake Worth Police Chief J.T. Manoushagian sent the following statement in regards to the lawsuit filed against Rollins:
“LWPD is aware of the civil lawsuit that has been filed against Commander Rollins for actions taken as a member of the Fort Worth Police Department. Prior to joining LWPD, Commander Rollins underwent a thorough background check where the details of this incident were carefully reviewed by our investigators. A Tarrant County Grand Jury also reviewed the case and found no evidence of wrongdoing. Following his honorable discharge from the Fort Worth Police Department, Commander Rollins was hired by LWPD. We are not a party to this suit, and we ask that all concerned respect the privacy of those involved.”