A rookie Waco police officer was cleared of criminal wrongdoing Wednesday in the March shooting death of a man who police said stabbed a Waco man multiple times outside a hotel.
A McLennan County grand jury determined Waco police Officer Claire Van Wolfe acted properly when she shot and killed 50-year-old Lorne Kyle Ashmore on March 1 outside the Deluxe Inn at 1430 Interstate 35 south frontage road. Grand juries routinely review officer-involved shootings as a matter of procedure.
Reports state Van Wolfe, who started with the department in June, and another officer were sent to the hotel on a disturbance call.
Van Wolfe, 22, encountered a man, later identified as Ashmore, who was threatening hotel residents with a knife and trying to force his way into another person’s room, police reported.
Ashmore was given repeated commands to drop the knife before he ran into the street behind the hotel, police said. Another man, described in reports as a 57-year-old whose address is the same as the hotel’s, chased Ashmore into the street.
Ashmore then approached a car with a woman and children inside and started pulling on the door handles, police said. The other man tackled Ashmore, and Ashmore stabbed him multiple times, according to reports.
Responding to the knife attack, Van Wolfe fired at Ashmore, hitting him a number of times. According to a preliminary autopsy report, Ashmore was hit in the neck, torso and left arm. The preliminary report does not state how many times he was hit.
The stabbing victim was treated and survived his wounds, reports show. Ashmore also was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Van Wolfe was placed on administrative duties the night of the shooting as part of normal department procedure after an officer-involved shooting. The Texas Rangers investigated the shooting.
Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt said he appreciates the work of his department’s special crimes unit, the Texas Rangers, the district attorney’s office and the grand jury.
“This was a tragic event, but the grand jury agreed that the officer followed state law during this critical incident,” Holt said. “The family of the suspect, the recovering stabbing victim and the officer involved will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.”