Fort Worth officer in serious condition after shooting in Haltom City

Posted Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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(Editor's note: The caption on one of the photos accompanying this story has been changed to correctly identify the officer standing next to Mayor Price.)

FORT WORTH -- A 21-year veteran of the Fort Worth Police Department was in serious condition late Tuesday at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital after he was shot by a man fleeing police, authorities said.

The officer was not immediately identified. He was later identified as Officer John Bell. WFAA/Channel 8 reported that sources said he had been shot three times, but officer Sharron Neal, a police spokeswoman, said she did not have that information.

Earlier, his condition was listed as critical, but Neal said at 9:35 p.m. that the officer's condition had been upgraded to "serious."

The shooting occurred shortly before 5 p.m. as two Fort Worth officers were visiting with a business owner in the 1900 block of Carson Street in Haltom City. The area is just south of Carson Street's intersection with Texas 121.

Cpl. Joe Hackfeld, Haltom City police spokesman, said the incident began when a patrol officer from his city tried to stop a vehicle during a narcotics investigation.

The driver refused to stop and a chase ensued.

Hackfeld said he didn't know where the chase began, but it led to the Carson Street area, where the driver abandoned the vehicle and ran.

The Haltom City officer lost sight of the man, so officers began searching the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the two Fort Worth officers were visiting with the owner of 2nd Opinion Auto Center, said Neal.

They learned from Haltom City police that a search was under way.

"A moment later, an employee came up and said a suspect was at the rear of the business," Neal said. "When officers went there, they were fired upon, at which time, officers returned fire."

Hackfeld said the suspect was also wounded by gunfire. He was taken to a Fort Worth hospital, but she declined to say which one. He was not immediately identified.

Linda Anderson, a spokeswoman with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's, confirmed Wednesday morning that the suspect has died. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, she said.

Mayor Betsy Price and Tracey Knight, another Fort Worth police spokeswoman, updated the media on the officer's condition at the hospital Tuesday evening.

Police Chief Jeff Halstead was out of state but would quickly return to Fort Worth, Knight said.

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