Fort Worth police Officer Garrett Hull is a hero.
He is a hero not only to grieving fellow officers, and to a heartbroken family, but to everyone in Fort Worth, a city he has bravely helped protect for 17 years.
Hull, 41, died Friday at John Peter Smith Hospital. He was shot when he and nine fellow officers confronted suspects outside a bar that had been robbed in the south side neighborhood of Worth Heights, the latest in a series of robberies.
Hull and the undercover unit had been tracking the group of suspects when they robbed the bar and its patrons. According to Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald, the chaos made it difficult for Hull and his fellow officers to differentiate between the perpetrators and innocent customers, a task requiring skill and good judgment. They honed in on their suspects and a dangerous pursuit ensued. That was when at least one of the suspects pulled a gun, tragically ending Hull’s watch.
The exchange of gunfire also resulted in the death of one suspect. Two remaining suspects were arrested.
Fitzgerald was visibly shaken during a Friday news conference, where he praised Hull and his fellow officers for “the level of heroism that took place” during the early morning operation.
If not for the painstaking surveillance and dangerous undercover work by Hull and his team, the suspects — who are tied to at least 17 other cases — would still be at large. They are alleged to have committed increasingly violent robberies for months in Fort Worth and surrounding communities, terrorizing residents and targeting establishments in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.
Thanks to Officer Hull, our streets are now safer.
These days, it’s increasingly popular to criticize police work, to regard officers with suspicion and to feed the narrative of mistrust between law enforcement and the communities they protect.
We sometimes forget that despite the rare exception, our police officers are good people doing noble work. Like Hull, they are protecting communities where they and their families have lived for years, serving friends they love.
Most would sacrifice everything to protect us. Even their lives.
Because he did his job and performed it well, Officer Hull will never again come home to his family.
Our Fort Worth family owes him a debt of gratitude, and a promise to never forget.