Crime

FBI releases details in investigation, shooting that led to Fort Worth officer’s death

More details of what led to the shooting death of police officer Garrett Hull in September were released on Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hull, 41, was a criminal intelligence officer with the Fort Worth Police Department and was fatally shot on Sept. 14 by a man suspected in a string of armed robberies that had been occurring at Hispanic bars and cantinas over the summer and into September.

Days before the robbery, detectives identified two possible suspect vehicles — a truck and an SUV — from surveillance video related to two of the robberies, according to the FBI.

Officers had identified the driver of the SUV and on Sept. 9, a robbery detective requested a Special Response Team to keep watch of the SUV. Officers then saw the driver of the SUV meet up with a truck that matched the description of the second vehicle.

Detectives didn’t have enough information to issue an arrest warrant yet, so they began surveillance on the two vehicles, the FBI said.

On Sept. 13, officers from several different units — including the criminal intelligence unit — followed the driver of the SUV to a bar at 403 W. Biddison St., in the Worth Heights neighborhood.

The occupants of the SUV watched the bar until just after 10 p.m. They then left and picked up a third person at a nearby gas station.

The three suspects were later identified as Timothy Huff, 33, Dacion Steptoe, 23, and Samuel Mayfield, 33.

At 11:28 p.m., the SUV parked at a vacant home near the bar. About 30 minutes later, the surveillance footage at the bar showed that the men went into the back patio of the bar. Two of the men immediately pointed handguns at customers. The customers were forced to the ground and their belongings stolen. One of the men went inside and continued to rob patrons, the FBI said.

Detectives who were watching outside became aware of the ongoing robbery when a customer ran out of the bar followed by a masked man who pointed a gun at the runner. The suspect ran back inside the bar, the FBI said.

Meanwhile, uniformed officers in an unmarked van and truck parked close to the front and rear bumpers of the suspects’ SUV. They took positions around the vehicle, the FBI said.

Huff, Steptoe and Mayfield ran out of the bar and toward the SUV, but when they saw officers, they turned and ran in different directions.

Officers spread out to chase the men. One officer followed a banging sound that came from a nearby home and found that the door had been kicked in. Mayfield was standing inside the home. He complied with the officer’s order to lie down on the ground and was arrested.

A the same time, Steptoe was spotted by an officer after he jumped a fence behind another home. He ignored commands to stop and continued to run.

The FBI said that one of the officers yelled, “Gun, gun, gun!”

Hull, a 17-year police veteran, had just left the area where Mayfield was arrested and joined the chase of Steptoe.

Just before midnight, Steptoe ran through a small opening between the front of a parked truck and the corner of a house. An overhead floodlight lit the opening, but everything beyond the hood of the truck was in darkness, the FBI said.

When Hull reached the opening, Steptoe fired three shots with a 9mm handgun. Hull took cover and shot back at Steptoe, but Steptoe continued to shoot and hit Hull in the head.

Another officer returned gunfire and Steptoe fell to the ground. Steptoe began to stand up with the firearm in his hand, the FBI said, and a third officer commanded him to stop moving, but Steptoe didn’t comply. Two officers fired again, and Steptoe fell with his firearm still in his hand. He was later pronounced dead.

At the same time, other officers ran to Hull and put him into a marked patrol vehicle. He was pronounced dead later that day.

Huff was found by officers in a nearby garage. Police found a weapon, mask and “proceeds” from the bar robbery near where he was caught, according to an arrest affidavit.

Both Huff and Mayfield are jailed and charged with capital murder in Hull’s death. Bail in the capital murder case is set at $1 million for each.

In December, Huff’s attorney filed a motion seeking a reduction in bond. It was denied.

On April 23, state prosecutors filed a notice that they will seek the death penalty for both men.

Trial dates have not yet been set.

Details of the deadly night were released in the FBI’s report on officers killed and assaulted in 2018. Hull was one of three officers killed in Texas last year. A 37-year-old officer with the Richardson Police Department was shot and killed in an ambush on Feb. 7. In Dallas, a 27-year-old officer was killed on April 24.

Last month, Hull’s wife, Sabrina Hull, announced an initiative to keep her husband’s memory alive.

Mission 3105 asks people to carry out on random act of kindness every day during the month of May. Hull’s badge number was 3105.

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