The police chase that ended with Fort Worth officer Matt Pearce getting shot started at Interstate 30 and South Hulen Street, near a Central Market, a high school and a Chick-fil-A.
As Pearce remained in critical condition Monday night, community members and police officers filled that same Chick-fil-A, where 20 percent of the restaurant’s sales from 5 to 9 p.m. went to support Pearce and his family.
Cash donations were accepted, too, with supporters dropping money into a large jar for Pearce, a husband and father of two young girls.
Monday’s event was part of an area fundraiser organized by the Mansfield Police Officers Association. Nearly 20 Chick-fil-A locations and 12 police departments from across Tarrant, Parker and Hood counties participated.
The agencies involved: Fort Worth, Arlington, Watauga, Burleson, Mansfield, Grand Prairie, Granbury, Westworth Village, Benbrook, Roanoke, Lake Worth and Weatherford.
At Chick-fil-A locations in Mansfield and Weatherford, two spots where “#TeamPearce” T-shirts were being sold, lines spilled out the doors. Most locations were sold out of shirts an hour after the fundraiser began, according to the Fort Worth police Twitter account. More shirts were being sold at ftwmetro.org.
At least 5,000 T-shirts have been sold, an organizer said.
‘You just never know’
Pearce, 36, was chasing a father and son in a wooded area on the afternoon of March 15 when he was shot several times with a handgun.
Ed R. McIver, 42, who had a long criminal record, was killed by police and his son was taken into custody. Ed McIver Jr., 20, was in the Tarrant County Jail in lieu of more than $2 million bail. He is charged with attempted capital murder and possession of a controlled substance.
The father and son were first spotted by plainclothes fugitive officers in a silver Ford Escape on Interstate 30 near Hulen. The officers called for marked cars to make a traffic stop, and Fort Worth police joined the pursuit, which sped south on Hulen — past the Chick-fil-A— to Vickery Boulevard and eventually onto westbound Interstate 20.
“You just never know when you go out and answer that call what’s going to happen at the end of the call,” said Justin Smith, a Fort Worth resident who bought dinner at the Hulen location Monday in support of Pearce. “Usually, people come home and everyone’s fine. But there are those times where things go south.”
Richard Lambing, a Fort Worth police officer who was critically injured during a high-speed chase in 2010, attended the fundraiser at the Hulen location Monday. Lambing can’t hear and has to use a walker.
“You have to support these guys,” said Ed Laswell, who bought a large to-go bag full of sandwiches.
We have to cover their backs and support them as much as possible.
Ed Laswell, Fort Worth resident supporting Officer Matt Pearce
Before Laswell left, he asked an officer about Pearce’s condition. Pearce remains in critical condition.
“They have to cover their backs,” Laswell said. “We have to cover their backs and support them as much as possible.”
Supporting Pearce’s sacrifice
Glenna Cleworth, a teacher at Tanglewood Elementary School, stopped by the Hulen restaurant on her way home from work.
“I think it’s critical,” Cleworth said. “To have a safe neighborhood, you have to support the police officers.”
Katie Martinez and her 7-year-old daughter were picking up dinner at the Hulen location Monday, their normal routine on their way to church.
Finding the fundraiser was a surprise, Martinez said, “but anytime an officer is willing to sacrifice their life, it’s worth it to come out and support.”
As the crowd at the Hulen site picked up about 6 p.m., restaurant manager Bruce Slone hurried food to tables and dipped outside to direct the drive-through traffic.
Slone said he heard about the fundraiser over the weekend and quickly signed up his restaurant to participate.
“We would do anything for [officers],” he said. “This was kind of planned on the cuff a little bit, so we didn’t get an opportunity to get a lot of extra food, so we’re hoping we’re going to hold out OK. We’re going to go deep into the night.”
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.