Fort Worth

Slain Little Elm police officer was caught in a ‘hail of gunfire’

Little Elm Detective Jerry Walker was trying to get a view of a barricaded suspect Tuesday afternoon when a “hail of gunfire” erupted, fatally striking him, Police Chief Rodney Harrison said at a news conference Wednesday.

Walker was among officers responding to a home in the 1400 block of Turtle Cove Drive, where a man with a gun had been reported.

After shooting Walker, officials said, the man remained barricaded for hours, before police found him dead inside the home at about 10 p.m.

The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office hadn’t identified the suspect by Wednesday evening, but his brother identified him as Rudy Garcia, according to WFAA.

The Texas Rangers were investigating the shooting Wednesday.

Patrol officers arrived at the scene about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday. They found Garcia with a long gun in the back yard, Harrison said.

Garcia fled inside the house and officers established a perimeter and waited for SWAT officers to arrive. Walker arrived and was stationed with another officer in the intersection of Turtle Cove and Waterview Drive.

Walker’s job was to use the scope on a rifle to get a view of the barricaded man inside the home, Harrison said.

About 4 p.m., a shot was fired from inside the home, striking somewhere in the intersection where Walker was stationed, Harrison said.

Harrison, who was about 50 yards away, asked Walker by radio if he could tell where the shot came from.

“I think he’s shooting at us,” Walker replied.

Seconds later, “a hail of gunfire came from inside the residence,” striking Walker, Harrison said.

“He immediately fell to the ground,” Harrison said.

Two Little Elm officers returned fire.

“The whole shooting incident was less than a minute,” Harrison said.

Officers moved a police SUV between Walker and the house to shield him while loading him into the vehicle and taking him out of the area.

Walker was flown to a Denton hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Back at the home on Turtle Cove Drive, Garcia remained barricaded inside. At one point, Harrison said, an elderly woman believed to be Garcia’s grandmother was rescued from the back of the home.

Officers later deployed a robot inside the home, which confirmed that Garcia was dead.

‘I literally jumped’

Mathew Mushinski, 28, a neighbor, said he was about to wash his truck when he saw a police car pull up with the lights on.

“I look to my right and see a cop car pulled up next to a mailbox and two police officers, one male, one female. The male had an assault rifle drawn. I dropped the water hose, ran to my garage, got my distance,” Mushinski said.

Mushinski said he saw a SWAT team pull up and a SWAT officer outside his house. He asked the officer what was going on.

“He said he had everything under control,” Mushinski said. “It wasn’t a minute or two later I heard shots ring out.

“As soon as I heard that, I just was like — I literally jumped and I just ran inside.”

Mushinski said officers told him to stay on the side of his house farthest from the incident.

Mushinski said he heard gunfire that was “really like simultaneous — almost like an assault rifle shot. It was real continuous.”

Mushinski said the neighborhood was quiet Wednesday morning. He said the home where the incident occurred had been taped off, and a few people seemed to be driving past it, taking a look.

Outpouring of support

Dozens of police officers escorted Walker’s body from the Denton hospital Tuesday night to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office in Fort Worth.

Officers with black tape across their badges began to gather again Wednesday in Fort Worth just after noon to escort Walker’s body home. The procession including motorcycle police, police vehicles and a Little Elm firetruck left around 3 p.m. Traffic on northbound Interstate 35W was temporarily halted to let the procession pass.

Walker joined the Police Department in September 1998. He was a father of four children, his youngest a few months old and his oldest 22, Harrison said.

“He was a model officer,” Harrison said Tuesday night.

Walker was working as a narcotics detective and was discussing a case in Harrison’s office when they got the call Tuesday. He had also been a school resource officer.

Dallas Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley, a graduate of Little Elm High School, tweeted about Walker on Tuesday night: “This is crazy. We lost a good one today. He looked out for me in high school. Rest In Peace.”

Dozens of police departments have posted tributes to Walker on social media, along with Gov. Greg Abbott, who tweeted, “Prayers for our finest.”

Nationwide, Walker was the sixth officer to be killed in the line of duty this year and the fourth to die from gunfire, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Staff writers Judy Wiley and Patrick M. Walker contributed to this report.