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By NANCY CALAWAY and JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News
WHITE SETTLEMENT Some who knew James P. Southall said he was becoming so erratic that it was not unusual to see him threaten loved ones with a handgun.
Betty Jean Cook, Mr. Southall’s fiancee, said he was not a violent man but recently had stopped taking medication for depression.
Those conflicting accounts will pose a challenge for investigators as they determine the circumstances that led Mr. Southall to engage in a gunbattle Wednesday afternoon with a White Settlement police officer. Both police Capt. George Scott Monier and Mr. Southall died from gunshot wounds suffered in the exchange.
Ms. Cook said Thursday that she was not afraid of Mr. Southall. “He wasn’t going to hurt me,” she said. “He wasn’t going to hurt anybody.”
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“I feel for the officer and his family, but I think he was probably doing things he shouldn’t have,” said Ms. Cook, who is staying with relatives.
Police Chief David Place rejected Betty Cook’s version of events.
“I do believe that police presence and involving the police was the right thing to do,” he said.
If Mr. Southall “would have taken the time to recognize the uniform and respect it, all this could have been avoided,” the chief said.
Brandy Cook said Thursday that Mr. Southall’s actions Wednesday were unlike any she had seen in the seven years she has known her grandmother’s boyfriend.
“What normal person is going to shoot at a cop and not expect him to shoot back?” she said.
Capt. Monier and other officers arrived at the Cook residence in the 9000 block of Farmer Road after Brandy Cook called police to report Mr. Southall had pulled a handgun and fired at her, her sister Monica Lolless, and their grandmother.
At the time of the shooting, Capt. Monier was an administrator over communications, records, training and the jail. He was not wearing a bulletproof vest, which is against the White Settlement Police procedure for all officers responding to calls, officials said.
Capt. Monier went inside through the back door while other officers stayed outside the front of the home, officials said.
“I don’t know if we’ll ever know why he went inside the home,” said Officer John Clapp, department spokesman.
Capt. Monier was shot several times, then stumbled outside the home, where fellow officers raced to help him, Chief Place said. He died in surgery at a Fort Worth hospital.
Capt. Monier fired all eight shots of his department-issued handgun at Mr. Southall and struck him more than once, Chief Place said.
The medical examiner’s office lists Capt. Monier’s age as 33. Paperwork at the police station and other records show that Capt. Monier was 37.
Capt. Monier’s funeral is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Peaster Baptist Church in Parker County, followed by a burial at Zion Hill Cemetery.
Capt. Monier’s wife and children, ages 10 and 7, were visited Thursday by Chief Place and other members of the Police Department. His wife could not be reached for comment.
Funeral arrangements for Mr. Southall, 68, were not finalized, Betty Cook said.
Betty Cook’s grandson Ben Cook, 21, and his wife Angie, 22, have been living at the home for about three months. They said they have never known Mr. Southall to be violent.
Mr. Southall had shown his handgun to Mr. Cook once “just to show me what he had,” Mr. Cook said. “He didn’t have a fascination or anything.”
Betty Cook knew Mr. Southall growing up in South Texas. Her husband, Donald, and Mr. Southall were friends until Donald Cook died of a heart attack about seven years ago.
The grandchildren had a different relationship with Mr. Southall, they said.
Mr. Southall’s intimidating claims about his background and his mental instability made life difficult, Brandy Cook said.
“There was always tension in the house,” she said.
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