Wife Of Man Shot And Killed By Police Speaks To KLTV - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/10/07-Whitehouse

Wife Of Man Shot And Killed By Police Speaks To KLTV

An East Texas man is shot and killed by police and his wife tells KLTV 7 her husband needed help.  Whitehouse police are saying absolutely nothing about the incident, but we have confirmed the man was Thomas Edward Topliff, 42.

Witnesses say it was outside his house in the 200 block of South Parkdale Street in Whitehouse, that he came out of the home firing his shotgun, forcing police to shoot back.     

Wednesday, the man's wife says people should know Topliff was a good person who just wasn't thinking straight Tuesday night.

Patti Topliff says her husband had been under a lot of stress at work lately, and wasn't in the best financial situation. She says Tuesday night, he didn't know how to handle his problems any more, and started talking about committing suicide. That's when she called police.

"He was not thinking right," Patti explains while sitting down with her tissue in hand as walks KTLV through the last moments she saw her husband alive.

"I called the police to see if they could get him to stop....stop from doing anything," she says.

Patti says it wasn't the first time her husband had talked about killing himself and that's why she knew she couldn't let him leave that house.

"He just wanted to leave and I wouldn't let him leave in the truck, I told him he wouldn't be fair if he got out there and caused an accident, and hurt somebody that was innocent," Patti says.

But when he pulled out a gun, Patti says that's when she feared for his life and called police.

"I didn't know what he was going to do."

Seconds later, after she had fled to a neighbor's, it became very apparent what he wanted, when she says, Thomas walked out the front door and started firing at the police she had called to their home.

"He had the gun up...I knew what would happen," she says.

Patti watched the whole ordeal through a window, with her neighbor at her side.

"It was almost like it wasn't real, like it wasn't happening, it was hard, she was very upset," says neighbor Elsie Graham. "She kept saying I don't want to watch, I don't want to watch, but I have to see what happens."

"I don't know who's gun I heard, I just heard several shots," and Patti says before starting to cry. "He was a great man, we were best friends."  

Patti and Thomas Topliff were married for five years.  Thomas was a father of two with one son and a stepdaughter.  

As for the officers involved, Whitehouse Police are not saying anything about the incident at this time.  We know the Texas Rangers are investigating the shooting to see if any actions will be taken.  

This is the second officer-involved shooting for Whitehouse in the past four months. That officer was no billed.

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com

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