Candlelight vigil set for slain Dallas police officer

Dallas police formally announced that officer Rogelio Santander died from his injuries in a shooting at a Home Depot in Dallas on April 24.
Dallas police formally announced that officer Rogelio Santander died from his injuries in a shooting at a Home Depot in Dallas on April 24. Courtesy

A candlelight vigil has been set for slain 27-year-old Dallas Police Officer Rogelio Santander for Thursday evening in Dallas.

The vigil will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Northeast Division where he worked at 9915 Northwest Highway, the Dallas Police Association posted on Facebook and Twitter.

Doors will open to police at 6 p.m. and to the community at 6:30 p.m.

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall addressed the media on Wednesday morning to formally announce Santander's death.

He succumbed to his injuries at 8:11 a.m. at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital after being shot Tuesday afternoon at a Home Depot in northeast Dallas, along with another officer and a store loss-prevention officer.

"We come before you this morning with broken hearts, and we regret to inform you that officer Rogelio Santander, badge number 10934, has succumbed to his injuries," Hall said.

He suffered a gunshot wound to the back of the head while he and two other officers attempted to arrest a shoplifting suspect, identified as Armando Juarez, 29, at the Home Depot at 11682 Forest Central Drive.

Juarez mug.JPG
Armando Luis Juarez Courtesy Dallas County Sheriff's Department

In a post on Santander on its website, the Dallas Police Association provided details of the shooting. It said an off-duty officer working at the store and the store's loss-prevention officer, Scott Painter, had detained a suspect who had attempted to shoplift in the store.

According to the arrest affidavit, Painter saw Juarez acting suspiciously and possibly attempting to commit a theft at the store.

They soon determined that Juarez had an outstanding felony warrant stemming from a theft charge, and the off-duty officer requested additional units. Santander and Officer Crystal Almeida arrived at the store and remained with Juarez in the loss prevention office as the off-duty officer confirmed the warrant.

As the off-duty officer returned to the store he heard, "shots fired," broadcasted over the police radio.

The affidavit states that body camera footage shows Santander and Almeida attempting to place Juarez into custody, while he had his hands in his pockets. He drew a handgun from his pocket and shot them both along with Painter, critically wounding all three.

The affidavit also states a witness was present and saw the incident unfold.

By the time the off-duty officer got to the office, Juarez had already fled the scene in a stolen pick-up truck. He was arrested about five hours later after a wild chase that ended on South Versailles Avenue in the Oak Lawn neighborhood shortly after 9 p.m.

The two officers and Painter were transported to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Santander died Wednesday morning.

Santander had served with the Dallas Police Department for three years.

Almeida and Painter remain in the hospital in critical condition, but Chief Hall said Wednesday morning that both were making remarkable progress.

A memorial outside Texas Health in Dallas Forbes the police officers injured and killed at Home Depot
Members of the community started a memorial outside Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. One Dallas police officer, Rogelio Santander, was killed and another female officer and a loss-prevention officer were both critically injured during a shooting at Home Depot on April 24. Prescotte Stokes III pstokes@star-telegram.com

Meanwhile, Stephen Holmes, the senior director of corporate communications for Home Depot, said the company has support programs in place to help workers cope with the tragedy at the store.

"We’re heartbroken over the death of the police officer, and we’re pulling for the recovery of the other officer and our associate. Our leadership team has been with the families to support them, as well as our store associates," Holmes said.

The Blue Guardian Foundation and National Latino Law Enforcement Organization Greater Dallas Chapter donate to families of all three officers. The organizations said all proceeds will go directly to the officers, their families for any medical bills and costs they will incur in the near future.

The Dallas Police Association is also hoping to do the same by raising $150,000 in donations for the families of those stricken through their Assist the Officer Foundation. The association says 100 percent of the net donations will go directly to the officer’s families.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram