Crime

Two years after being shot, Fort Worth officer still healing as he testifies in trial

Fort Worth Police Officer Matt Pearce testified that he had just been shot several times by an armed felon when his fellow officers found him hidden in the underbrush.

Pearce was nearly killed by the father of Ed McIver Jr., 23, of Weatherford, a man on trial for leading police away from his father and evading arrest.

After shooting Pearce, Ed R. McIver, 42, was shot to death by police officers who had pursued his SUV into a wooded area in far west Fort Worth on March 15, 2016.

McIver’s son was found in the same wooded area as his father about three hours later. If convicted of tampering with and/or fabricating evidence, the younger McIver faces a sentence of two to 10 years in prison.

Pearce said he fully returned to active duty as a tactical medical officer nearly two years after being shot. The unit Pearce works with provides other officers with emergency health care and trains them in providing that care.

Pearce testified that he no longer chases suspects up heavily wooded embankments.

“My right leg is three-quarter inches shorter than my left leg, one side of my face is paralyzed and I can’t really use three of my fingers,” he said.

When Tarrant County Prosecutor Kevin Rousseau asked Pearce if there was any chance he might recover fully, the police officer managed a weak smile.

“It’s about a 50-50 chance,” Pearce said.

Pearce testified that he knew the people in the SUV that he was chasing two years ago were going to bail from their vehicle.

He said he saw the SUV weave from side to side in the road after leaving the freeway and going down an embankment, and knew that it meant that the driver was looking for a place to abandon his vehicle.

After the SUV stopped, the occupants got out on either side of the SUV and ran in opposite directions, a video played for the jury showed.

Pearce ran behind the driver, the elder McIver, while yelling, “Stop right there! Fort Worth police! Stop! Fort Worth police! We will shoot!”

The brush was about chest high and thick, and Pearce said he was using both hands to keep the vegetation out of his face and from poking him in the eye.

“He (the elder McIver) is about 10 to 15 yards ahead of me the whole time,” Pearce said.

Pearce was stopped by a barbed-wire fence as he ran uphill. He tried to climb over it, but got caught in it fell to the ground on the other side as he crossed over. “When I stood up I got shot,” Pearce said.

Kevin Rousseau, Tarrant County prosecutor, told the jury during his opening statement that the younger McIver knew exactly what he was doing when he ran away from the elder McIver as he and his father tried to elude police.

“It was the only thing that he could do,” Rousseau said. “He made the police chase after him.”

Pearce pursued the elder McIver, while most of the other police officers ran after the younger McIver, Rousseau said.

Pearce’s injuries included a collapsed lung, a punctured diaphragm, a shattered right femur, a broken jaw, damage to his liver and spleen, and a nicked heart and he was given a 4 percent chance of living.

Rousseau argued that the younger McIver’s intent was to lead police away from his father and hide weapons. During a foot chase police believed both suspects had guns, according to testimony.

“His father was a felon in possession of a weapon,” Rousseau said. “We believe the intent is clear.”

But McIver’s attorneys described their client as a man who was afraid and who begged his father to pull over as they were being pursued by police.

“This is a scary situation for him,” said Brian Walker, who along with attorney Bob Gill is defending McIver. “He’s thinking, ‘What’s going to happen when this stops?’”

McIver’s father handed his son two guns when he finally stopped the Ford Escape that police had been chasing at speeds exceeding 100 mph, Walker said.

“His dad said, ‘If I make it, I’ll see you later,’” Walker said. “’If I don’t, I love you.’ And then he bolts.”

The younger McIver ran into the woods and tossed one of the guns away, Walker said. He was afraid that if police saw him they might have shot him, Walker said.

“Then he hears gunshots,” Walker said.

Pearce was hit and spent seven months recovering from his wounds before returning to light duty tasks at work.

The younger McIver had been charged twice with attempted capital murder, but two separate Tarrant County grand juries declined to indict him.

He was also charged with possession of a controlled substance and theft of a firearm, but each of those charges were dismissed.

This story includes information from Star-Telegram archives.

Mitch Mitchell: 817-390-7752, @mitchmitchel3

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