Ed R. McIver went to great lengths to try and avoid being captured by the law.
He jumped into a pond. He scurried down a trap door in his house. He hid in the trunk of a car.
But he was always caught. And eventually released. Then, over time, caught again.
Tuesday afternoon, after leading police on a car chase through far west Fort Worth, Ed R. McIver and his son dashed from their SUV into a wooded area, armed with two handguns and a rifle.
Fort Worth police officers chased the McIvers, and gunfire erupted.
Ed R. McIver, 42, was shot and killed by police, and officer Matt Pearce was critically wounded. McIver died of gunshot wounds to his head and torso, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
McIver’s son, Ed McIver Jr., 20, was captured three hours later after an intense manhunt in a semi-rural area west of Loop 820 West between Interstates 20 and 30.
Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said Wednesday that Pearce, 36, is “still fighting” and remains in critical condition at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Fitzgerald would not report how many times Pearce was shot, but a GoFundMe page states he was hit seven times — in the cheek, arm, chest and leg.
The younger McIver was in the Mansfield jail Wednesday evening with bail set at more than $2 million. He faces charges of attempted capital murder, evading arrest and unlawful carrying of a weapon. He also faces a charge of possession of a controlled substance; police say ecstasy was found in the SUV’s passenger seat.
Linda McIver of Weatherford, mother and grandmother of the men, said Wednesday that she had not yet talked to her grandson but does not believe he shot Pearce.
“He’s not the one who did it. They can’t prove he did it until they match the bullets,” Linda McIver said. “I don’t see how they can point fingers without having all the facts. … Our justice system is supposed to be on facts and proof. How can they do this without truly knowing?”
Linda McIver said she also has tried to contact the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office to see her son’s body.
“My mind knows that he’s gone, but my heart doesn’t,” she said. “And it won’t until I see him and then I can really make my decisions on what I’m going to do.”
Father had recently returned to area
Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said authorities were very familiar with the elder McIver and had dealt with him for more than 20 years.
“He’s had assault cases against him, but nothing like what happened Tuesday,” Fowler said.
Parker County court records show that McIver had almost 40 arrests and citations since 1991, ranging from traffic tickets to more serious accusations like burglary, theft of livestock and assault.
Fowler said that the younger McIver had been arrested a few times on misdemeanors offenses, and Parker County records show that he has been in custody for traffic violations and failure to appear in court.
“He’s had tickets and stuff like most teenage boys but nothing serious,” Linda McIver said.
Fowler said Tuesday’s showdown with police began to develop after officers with Parker County’s fugitive apprehension strike team received information that the elder McIver was in Fort Worth.
Arrests warrants had been issued for him, accusing the elder McIver of assault, interference with an emergency call and two for skipping out on bail. The offenses of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated assault/family violence were noted in a Fort Worth news release.
Fowler said that the team had been looking for McIver for months and “heard he had been in Nevada and Idaho, but he had returned to this area.”
Strike force members combed Fort Worth locations that he was known to frequent and spotted him driving a silver Ford Escape near I-30 and Hulen Street. His son was with him.
The fugitive officers, in plain clothes and unmarked cars, asked for assistance from Fort Worth marked patrol cars but before the McIvers could be stopped, they took off in the SUV, heading south on Hulen to Vickery Boulevard and eventually to westbound I-20.
A woman who saw the SUV speed by estimated the suspects were driving “90 to 95 miles per hour as they got on the freeway.”
About 15 minutes later and four miles later, the men stopped the SUV on Longvue Avenue and ran into the wooded area.
A history of running
The elder McIver was fond of running from law enforcement, his criminal record indicates.
In October 1997, while trying to elude arrest on warrants by Parker County sheriff’s deputies, McIver twice jumped into a pond and tried to swim to freedom, according to an offense report.
He was eventually able to run back into his Parker County residence with deputies still in pursuit.
Though other family members inside the home claimed not to know his location, the offense report states, one of the deputies “had prior knowledge that Ed had a trap door built into the floor of his bedroom.”
The deputies searched the bedroom, discovering the trap door in a corner of the bedroom after moving a baby bed and changing table. When they opened it, they spotted McIver’s arm, the report states.
The deputy “did a quick peek into the hole and observed Ed attempting to crawl away,” the report states.
When told to stop, McIver cursed at the deputies. Feeling it was unsafe to follow after him, the deputies squirted pepper spray into the hole, prompting a combative McIver to finally crawl out and be placed under arrest, the report states.
On March 24, 2003, North Richland Hills police officers attempted to stop McIver on a traffic violation, but he drove away, stopped his vehicle in a residential area and got out and ran.
“Individuals pointed to a residence where he ran and officers went to that house,” North Richland Hills investigator Keith Bauman said Wednesday. “The officers checked the house but couldn’t find him.”
North Richland officers noticed a car in the garage and checked the trunk.
“Officers had their guns drawn and stood to the side of the trunk when they opened it,” Bauman said.
Inside, they found McIver, a loaded 9 mm gun in his hand. He didn’t fire his handgun and was arrested without further incident.
That encounter with North Richland Hills police — as well as convictions in Parker County for theft of livestock, burglary of a building and criminal nonsupport (failing to support a child) — landed McIver in prison in December 2003.
He served less than five years before being released in April 2008 on parole with mandatory supervision. That ended on March 5, 2011, according to Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Linda McIver said she used to have a good relationship with her son, a father of five who remained married but was separated from his third wife.
But after prison, her son was a changed man, Linda McIver said.
“He told me they would never take him back” to prison, Linda McIver said. “That if he got in any more trouble, that they would never take him back alive. I believed that with all my heart and soul.”
Manhunt was intense
With the elder McIver dead in the shootout with police Tuesday afternoon, agencies from across the region joined Fort Worth police in the manhunt for McIver Jr.
On Wednesday, Fitzgerald praised what he described as the “seamless cooperation” of local, state and federal authorities working together to apprehend the wanted man.
“I don’t know that most people outside of law enforcement understand what it takes to walk into a situation where you know someone is armed and you know gunfire has already been exchanged, but you still walk forward,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said the wooded terrain where more than 100 officers searched for McIver Jr. was full of chest-high thickets. He said he walked in the area himself, and the mud was as much as 2 inches high on his boots.
“To be out there and not be able to see 10 feet in front of you and to have a search going for someone who had firearm, and we already knew he had initiated violence against a police officer, I can tell you we had a lot of brave officers,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said even civilians who wanted to join the manhunt had to be “calmed down a bit.”
“They wanted to come out on ATVs and assist in the search,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said a dog with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sniffed out a rifle in the area where McIver Jr. was captured.
Linda McIver said she believes that if her grandson was really behind the officer’s shooting, he wouldn’t have been caught without a fight. Instead, she believes that he was merely scared.
“Knowing my son like I do, he probably told my grandson to run so he didn’t get shot, to protect him,” she said.
Staff writers Ryan Osborne and Lance Winter contributed to this report.
How to help
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price directed people interested in helping the family to go to the Matt Pearce Family Fund on GoFundMe. (www.gofundme.com/herodown)
“We, his friends, want to ensure that his immediate family — his wife and their two little girls, one barely a year old and one 3 — are taken care of, and that money is the last thing on their minds during this time,” the page states.