The ex-girlfriend of a 23-year-old robbery suspect who was killed by police after he allegedly shot an officer in the head took to Facebook on Friday, posting that she begged him to leave the streets and “tried to show him a better way of life.”
Julia Ruffin had two children with 23-year-old Dacion Steptoe — including a 9-month-old son, Dacion Steptoe Jr., who died in July 2015, while in the care of a woman running an unlicensed child care center.
On a post on her own Facebook page Friday, Ruffin wrote that she wasn’t going to paint a picture that Steptoe was “just the upmost law abiding citizen.’”
“He shouldn’t have put his self in that situation but he wasn’t no vigilante either,” she wrote. “He was fighting demons but his heart was good. We was both still suffering the heartache of living without our child. He just wanted to get some money and give me and our boys the world! I tried to show him a better way of life. I begged him and told him everyday it was only two options in these streets. I begged him every day to get out and come home to us. I never thought I would loose (sic) u this way!”
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Tarrant County court records show Steptoe had six prior convictions in Tarrant County for crimes ranging from assault with bodily injury to burglary.
He had previously served time in prison for the burglary conviction and was still on mandatory supervision when he was killed early Friday in a shootout with police, according to prison officials.
He had also been wanted locally on a warrant since July for failing to pay owed money in connection with a failure to identify misdemeanor conviction, Tarrant County court records show.
A second suspect, 33-year-old Samuel Louis Mayfield, has an even more extensive Tarrant County criminal history with 13 convictions spanning from 2002 to this year, including for theft, aggravated assault with serious bodily injury, possession of marijuana and a controlled substance, assault on a public servant and retaliation.
Mayfield was sentenced in August 2012 to three years in prison on the felony retaliation conviction. He was discharged in February 2015 after serving his complete sentence, according to Robert Hurst, a spokesman with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Court records show he had been wanted since February on four outstanding warrants in connection with four of his previous cases — three involving theft of property and the fourth, possession of marijuana.
Police were conducting surveillance on Steptoe, Mayfield, and a third man who they suspect were involved in a string of violent robberies targeting Hispanic bars when they saw the men enter Los Vaqueros bar at 403 W. Biddison St.
Once inside, officials say, the men committed a robbery.
Numerous officers, including many in uniform, had confronted the suspects nearby on May Street when police say Steptoe began firing at officers. One of the bullets struck undercover Officer Garrett Hull in the head, they said.
Police returned fire, killing Steptoe.
Police say a third suspect, whose identity has not yet been released, was being interviewed early Friday afternoon.
Steptoe was sentenced to four years in prison in December 2016 after his probation was revoked on a burglary of a habitation case, court records show.
He was released from prison in October 2017 and placed on mandatory supervision. His mandatory supervision was set to end in November 2019, Hurst said.
Steptoe’s Facebook page indicates he previously attended Saginaw and Everman high schools and Tarrant County College. It includes pictures of Dacion Jr., his late son, whose death the Star-Telegram had previously covered.
When Steptoe Jr. died Fort Worth police charged the baby’s caregiver, who had twice been told by the state to stop running an unlicensed child care center, with abandoning/endangering a child and operating a child care facility without a license.
Latoya Latrice Anderson was accused of placing the baby, who was sick, in imminent danger by leaving him face down on a couch while she left the apartment.
A Tarrant County grand jury, however, later declined to indict the day care owner on the felony charge after the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the boy’s death as natural, caused by sudden infant death syndrome.
Anderson, however, was sentenced to probation in August 2017 on the misdemeanor charge of operating a child care facility without a license.
On Thursday, court records show, prosecutors filed a petition to revoke her probation. Court records do not state why.
Ruffin told the Star-Telegram on Friday that she and Steptoe were broken up but working on getting back together.
She said Steptoe also had a close friend who he considered a brother killed last year in a home invasion.
Byronne Maldonado Suttle, who grew up with Steptoe, was among two men found fatally shot inside a Fort Worth apartment in March 2017.
“He was still coping with our son’s death and he lost his brother last year when he was incarcerated,” Ruffin said. “He didn’t know how to cope.”