Fort Worth police name suspects they say shot an officer
As an undercover Fort Worth officer who was shot in the head early Friday by a suspected robber remained in critical condition, Fort Worth police released the name of the man suspected of shooting him.
Dacion Steptoe was identified as the man killed on the scene by police, police Chief Joel Fitzgerald told reporters during a noontime press conference.
Fitzgerald also identified a second suspect, Samuel Mayfield, 23, who was arrested shortly after the shooting.
The third suspect, initially described as a woman, has been identified as Timothy Huff, 33. Fitzgerald said the suspect is, in fact, a man and was still being interviewed early Friday afternoon.
Fitzgerald said Mayfield had active warrants for assault with bodily injury, possession of marijuana and theft when he was arrested.
Mayfield faces charges of 10 counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of attempted capital murder. Mayfield has warrants out of Tarrant County for three counts of theft between $100 and $750 and one count of possession of marijuana under two ounces. An outstanding assault causing bodily injury warrant from Fort Worth and two traffic warrants issued out of Samson Park are also recorded on the Tarrant County jail log for Mayfield, jail records show.
Huff is facing 10 counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of attempted capital murder, the Tarrant County jail log showed.
Lt. Chris Britt said during a press conference at John Peter Smith Hospital that was shown on Facebook live that both Mayfield and Huff each face 10 counts of aggravated robbery because 10 patrons of the Los Vaqueros sports bar were inside when the suspects attempted to rob the establishment.
Another police officer was near Hull when shots were fired and that accounts for the two counts of attempted capital murder, Britt said. Huff and Mayfield are being questioned about their possible involvement in as many as 15 robberies, Britt said.
Officer Garrett Hull, a 17-year veteran of the department, had been among officers conducting surveillance of three individuals believed responsible for a series of increasingly violent robberies targeting Hispanic-oriented establishments since at least June, police said.
Fitzgerald said robbery investigators, criminal intelligence unit and special reaction teams were assisting in the investigation.
“We put our very best on this case,” Fitzgerald said.
While being watched, police say the three suspects entered Los Vaqueros sports bar at 403 W. Biddison Street and committed a robbery inside the bar.
As the suspects and frightened patrons ran from the bar, the officers, including Hull, did an excellent job in differentiating between the suspects and innocent customers, Fitzgerald said.
“I can’t say enough about, again, the level of heroism that took place this morning,” he said.
Police said officers had confronted the suspects a short distance away in the 3500 block of May Street.
“The suspects were trying to get into a vehicle,” Sgt. Chris Britt has said. “They were not able to do so, so they continued to run on foot.”
At around 11, two vehicles were towed off of May Street — a maroon GMC Sierra truck and a blue Ford SUV. The back window and back passenger window of the SUV appeared to be shot out.
Multiple uniformed officers had joined in the pursuit when at least one of the suspects, believed to be Steptoe, pulled a gun and began firing, striking Hull, police said. The bullet, Officer Bradley Perez said, entered Hull’s forehead and did not exit.
Officers returned fire, killing Steptoe while also providing first aid to Hull, the chief said.
Perez told the Star-Telegram there were 10 officers involved in the confrontation.
“There was mayhem at the scene,” Fitzgerald said during the press conference.
He credited the officers’ “tremendous hard work” with leading to the suspects’ arrests.
“We’re not looking for anybody,” he said. “We have our suspects in hand.”
Fitzgerald said that every meeting police have had since the robberies began, they’ve talked about the three suspects.
“I can’t say enough about the units who are involved in this,” he said. “It may have taken a bit to get these guys, but we got them ... the collateral damage is we have an officer fighting for his life.”
The men have been tied to at least 17 cases. In one robbery — at El Corral on July 13 — a customer was shot in the head. Some of the cases happened outside of city limits. Two other victims have either been shot or shot at, Fitzgerald said.
Police say they think there are still other cases that haven’t been reported, perhaps because business owners feared police scrutiny. Fitzgerald encouraged any victims to contact police or Crime Stoppers at 817-469-8477.
‘He’s the rock of that unit’
Fitzgerald said there has been no change in Hull’s condition.
“Family members are with him now and at his side,” he said.
Hull initially worked a 10-year stint with the Police Department from 1999 to 2009, according to Perez.He then left the department for two years but returned in 2011, Perez said.
He was welcomed back with open arms, the chief said.
“He is the rock of that unit,” Fitzgerald said. “That says a whole lot about a person.”
Hull is a husband and father of two.
Fitzgerald said that while everyone wants to be there for Hull’s family, they need time to rest and time to “make decisions about his medical future.”
Contributing: Nichole Manna and Gordon Dickson of the Star-Telegram