A police officer died in surgery and a suspect was also fatally shot Tuesday afternoon in a gunfight in a neighborhood park, officials said.
The officer killed was David S. Hofer, 29, who came to Euless in January 2014 after five years of service with the New York Police Department.
He went to J.A. Carr Park at 2:47 p.m. Tuesday after reports of a suspicious person and possible shots fired. Hofer approached the armed suspect, who opened fire, striking the officer.
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Other officers responding to the gunfire fired at the suspect, who was hit multiple times and pronounced dead after being transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, according to Euless Police Chief Michael Brown.
Hofer was transported to Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Grapevine, where he died in surgery.
“This community will not forget David’s servant heart and dry wit,” Brown said at a brief news conference Tuesday night.
The suspect has not been identified.
As news of the shooting spread among the tight-knit community, residents were stunned and saddened.
The officer’s death was the second in the line of duty in Euless, a city of 53,000 in Northeast Tarrant County.
“Euless is one big family,” Mayor Linda Martin said. “Honestly, I’m having trouble controlling my tears.”
She said officers will continue the investigation overnight. After sundown, police focused their investigation on an area of the park about 200 yards west of Simmons Drive.
“We are trying to meet their needs right now,” Martin said. “There are volunteers who are taking food to the station and doing whatever is needed.”
At the park, several people gathered to place flowers and a sign in honor of the fallen officer. Later, people put flowers in front of the Euless police station, about a mile from the park.
“This is a park I grew up playing in,” said Eric Love, a Euless native who now lives in Hurst. “I grew up in this town. There’s a lot of good people here. … This officer did not have to die.”
Officer grew up in Brooklyn
Hofer, who lived in Plano, is survived by his fiance, parents, sister and brother, city officials said.
He graduated from Saint Ann’s High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and earned his bachelor’s degree from New York University in 2008.
Hofer is the second Euless officer to die in the line of duty.
The other officer was Michael Ray Williamson, who was killed by a drunken driver in 1982, city officials said.
Williamson had been on the job less than a year when he was killed and left behind a wife and six children. A son of his works as a Euless firefighter.
The Michael Williamson Rookie of the Year award is given annually to the department’s top rookie, and in 2014, the city dedicated Officer Michael R. Williamson Memorial Drive in his honor.
H-E-B school on lockdown
Officials with the Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district said they were notified that shots had been heard near Oakwood Terrace Elementary School at about 3 p.m., said Deanne Hullender, spokeswoman for the district.
The school was placed on lockdown and police were contacted.
After police confirmed that the suspect was in custody, the lockdown was lifted about 3:20 p.m., according to a news release from the district.
The park, a wooded area off Simmons Drive and Texas 10, is in a residential area north of Oakwood Terrace. It sits about a mile away from the Euless police headquarters, where the flags flew at half-staff Tuesday night.