An armed suspect wearing full body armor, a mask and brandishing a handgun, was fatally shot by Arlington police late Saturday afternoon after confronting an officer in a residential neighborhood.
The unidentified suspect was killed following a short pursuit by Arlington police in the 3800 block of Shady Valley Drive, near where he crashed a vehicle carjacked from an apartment complex, said Arlington Lt. Christopher Cook. It is not clear if the suspect fired his weapon before being fatally shot by the police.
“We’re thankful no officers were injured,” Cook said.
The incident began about 4:15 p.m. in an apartment complex in the 2100 block of Park Springs Boulevard, where the suspect had been arguing with family members outside and became angry, went inside and emerged wearing body armor, a mask and carrying a gun, Cook said.
The suspect then carjacked a vehicle at Woodland Park and Park Springs, drove north on Park Springs Boulevard, ultimately crashing the car near Shady Valley Drive. The suspect exited the vehicle and ran down the street, apparently looking for a car to steal or gain entrance to a home, Cook said.
Police swarmed into the neighborhood and told residents who had heard the crash to stay inside. The suspect was confronted by police and fatally shot at about 5:15 p.m., Cook said.
No other injuries were reported, according to Cook.
“It’s a very scary call for everyone involved,” Cook said. “I’m just glad no residents were home or if they were, never came out.”
The victim of the carjacking, Gabriel Martinez, 38, of Arlington, said he was on his way to work after leaving his residence moments before when he was approached by a man dressed in black, wearing body armor and holding a handgun. He was stopped at a light at Woodland Park and Parks Springs Boulevard.
The man ordered him out of his white 2010 Dodge Caliber, Martinez said.
“I started to drive off but he shook his head no, so I put it in park and got out of the car,” Martinez said. “If I would’ve tried to take off he would have shot me. I seen in his eyes he was serious. I’ll never forget that gun or his face.”
Martinez said the suspect “burned out” and left. There were seven or eight police officers who saw the carjacking take place and were right there, Martinez said. Martinez said he ran down the street to let his girlfriend, Raymona Soto, 36, know what had happened.
“I heard this loud banging on the door and I started not to answer because I knew my boyfriend had a key,” Soto said. “But it was him. He was hysterical. I know he’s going to be traumatized by this for a while.”
Cook said police originally were alerted to a domestic disturbance call involving two brothers and their mother. One of the brothers made a call to a third party and said his brother had left the house and was armed with a gun. Police were informed of the disturbance by the third party, Cook said.
Police established a perimeter around the apartment on Park Springs Boulevard and got the mother and the suspect’s brother outside in order to avoid a hostage situation, Cook said. The suspect put on body armor and pointed his handgun at police officers, Cook said. As police were continuing to negotiate with him, the suspect began screaming for police to “shoot me,” Cook said.
During negotiations with the suspect, police heard a loud crash, and discovered that the suspect had apparently broken a window and gotten outside the perimeter by entering an adjacent vacant apartment.
Police were searching for the suspect when he carjacked Martinez’s vehicle, Cook said. After the suspect crashed on Shady Valley Drive, he exited the stolen car and attempted to enter other residences as police were establishing a second perimeter, Cook said. The suspect was unable to enter anywhere, Cook said.
During an encounter with one of the officers, that officer discharged his weapon, killing the suspect, Cook said.
The suspect will be identified by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office, Cook said.
“The suspect forced our hand in this encounter,” Cook said.
“Officers and witnesses described his behavior as bizarre,” Cook said.
Benjamin Harris, who lives in the house next to where the shooting took place, said he heard commotion on the street and looked outside.
“I just heard a lot of police cars coming,” Harris said. “I came out and police cars were everywhere.”
Daniel Stage and his son-in-law Michael Mann were by Stage’s pool when they heard the car crash. Mann said he poked his head over the backyard fence and saw the suspect was still in his car. By the time they got to the car, it was sitting empty with its doors open. Soon, the neighborhood was full of squad cars and police officers ordering people into their homes.
“They said ‘Get into the house in case bullets start flying,’ ” Mann said.