Man accused of shooting two Dallas cops, and killing one, is escorted to jail after wild chase
One police officer has died and another was critically wounded in a shooting Tuesday by a gunman inside a Home Depot store in northeast Dallas, which set off a five-hour manhunt that ended with the chase and arrest of the suspected shooter.
On Wednesday morning, Dallas police identified the officers as Chrystal Almeida and Rogelio Santander, who have both worked in the Northeast Division for three years.
The officers were rushed to Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital where they underwent surgery, Dallas police Chief Renee Hall said. Police said Wednesday morning that they remain in critical condition.
Later in the morning, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced that Santander had died, according to police spokesman Demarquis Black.
Black said that Almeida and Scott Painter, the civilian wounded in the shooting, are improving.
A civilian, who worked as a loss prevention officer at Home Depot, was also shot and that person was also out of surgery, Hall said.
The shooting suspect, 29-year-old Armando Juarez of Dallas, was in a white pickup truck that led dozens of police cars on a chase — speeding through neighborhoods, driving on sidewalks — before he was apprehended around 9:10 p.m. in a whirlwind of flashing red and blue lights, according to authorities.
"I want to thank Dallas police tonight," said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. "We got our man."
Hall said Juarez faces multiple charges of aggravated assault of a police officer and other charges could follow. On Wednesday morning, police said Juarez will also be charged on two previous felony theft warrants. A woman in the pickup with Juarez was also arrested.
Officers who were at the hospital to show support for their colleagues ran to their patrol cars when word broke that the suspect had been spotted in the pickup. The chase ended where Versailles Avenue dead ends in the Oak Lawn neighborhood.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">After a lengthy car chase, the suspect related to today's shooting is in custody. Now, prayers are needed for the two officers fighting for their lives!</p>— Dallas Air One (@DPDAir1) <a href="https://twitter.com/DPDAir1/status/988966373425631232?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 25, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Hall addressed the media twice at news conferences with Rawlings.
Rawlings said Dallas is once again "looking into the hell of heartbreak as our Police Department was attacked this afternoon."
He added: "I am continued to be upset at the lack of respect at our police in our city and in our country."
Officers called for backup
Hall said that the shooting occurred about 4:12 p.m. at the Lake Highlands Home Depot in the 11600 block of Forest Central Drive off U.S. 75.
"What we know right now is that there was an off-duty officer working at Home Depot who called for assistance for an arrest. That's when our officers showed up," Hall said. "We do believe the person of interest is armed at this time. I do not have all the details of how he was able to get a gun and shoot all three of the officers at the Home Depot location. We're still investigating and reviewing video."
Juarez has a criminal history, including felony theft and vehicle theft, but nothing nearly as serious as the crimes he's accused of committing on Tuesday.
Hall said the suspect apparently left the Home Depot in a Ford, possibly F-250, white in color with “GX4” on the back fender, ladder rack, and large exhaust pipes rising from the front of the bed.
As officers responded to the shooting — in patrol cars, armored SWAT vehicles and police helicopters — the scene was a somber reminder of the ambush and killings of five police officers in downtown Dallas on July 7, 2016.
The two officers who were wounded — a man and woman — responded to a call for backup at the Home Depot, to assist an off-duty officer in making an arrest of the suspect at the store. When the officers approached the suspect he opened fire, authorities said.
Police immediately began searching for Juarez near the Home Depot, including a heavily wooded area behind the store. WFAA reports that Juarez is from Dallas and unemployed, but had previously worked with his father as a bricklayer.
'Get out! Get out!'
Cheryl Gills was inside the Home Deport and she said an employee told her he heard six gunshots in an area near the back of the store. Then he saw two officers on the ground.
Other customers inside the Home Depot at the time told Fox 4 News that they were told to “Get out! Get out!”
One woman who was not identified said, “I heard gunshots … and ran straight for the exit.”
Law enforcement officers from the Fort Worth Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers responded to the shooting.
Hall said that the two officers were rushed to Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital by members of the Dallas Fire-Rescue.
She added that at this time there are no donations set up for the families of the injured officers.
"We're just asking for your prayers. One of the families are here and we have another family on the way to the hospital so we're just asking for your continued prayers and support," Hall said.
Crimestoppers is offering an up to $5,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and indictment in this incident.
Dallas City Councilman Adam McGough, who represents the area, told The Dallas Morning News that he is praying for the officers and their families.
"It's just more reminder of what a dangerous job they have," he said.
Staff writer Stephen English contributed to this report.