Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dallas officer fatally shoots man after foot chase - Fort Worth Star Telegram

DALLAS -- Extra officers, some in riot gear, were called out Tuesday evening to calm a crowd after a police officer fatally shot a man after a foot chase in southeast Dallas.

The victim, identified by Dallas Police Chief David Brown as James Harper, was shot after leading police Officer Brian Rowden on a chase that went over three fences near the 5300 block of Bourquin Street.Brown said Rowden was exhausted and in fear for his life when he shot Harper.Harper, who was not armed, had a long arrest record, which Brown read at a news conference about four hours after the 5 p.m. shooting.The chase began at a house near the intersection of Dixon Avenue and Bourquin Street.Other officers arrested a second suspect there. They found crack cocaine in the yard and in the house, Brown said."A wad of cash" was found in Harper's front pocket, Brown said.Neighbors told police the house was a drug house, he said.After the shooting, TV helicopters showed a crowd forming around crime scene tape. The Dallas Police Department reported on Twitter that response teams from seven substations had been summoned to the scene for traffic and crowd control.The extra officers, some in riot gear, formed a line to prevent onlookers from entering the crime scene, and police shut down Dixon Avenue at Scyene Road to stop inbound traffic, according to TV reports. Later Dallas County sheriff's deputies were called in to help police.At the news conference, Brown said a 911 caller said that a black man with his hands tied behind him was being dragged into the house by five or six Latin males. Three officers went to the house. They found no Latin males and nothing to suggest a kidnapping had occurred. Also, the phone number given to police went to a person who did not speak English and knew nothing about the matter.It may have been a bogus call, possibly made by drug rivals, Brown said.The officers knocked on the door, Brown said. They heard scurrying inside and glass being broken. When they entered, they saw a handgun on a table, Brown said.Harper ran out with Rowden in pursuit. They went down an alley and over three fences, and Harper fought with Rowden at each fence.At the third fence, Brown said, Rowden "became fatigued and was losing the fight." He said the officer "was out of energy and clinging to Mr. Harper who was beating on him."According to the chief, Harper told the officer, "You're going to have to kill me."In fear of his life and having no cover close, Rowden pulled out his weapon and shot Harper.He said the officer, who had been beaten and "kicked in the chest pretty aggressively," did not require hospitalization.Brown explained in detail how an officer is hampered during a fight because he or she can use only one arm while keeping the weapon from the other person."We cannot lose a fight with a gun on our hip," Brown said.The weather could also have been a factor in the officer's exhaustion, Brown said. An officer's bulletproof vest adds to the heat.The department's special investigation unit, which investigates police shootings, was dispatched, he said. Findings will be turned over to the Dallas County district attorney's office, which will present the case to a grand jury to determine whether the shooting was justified.Brown said it appeared that Harper was shot in the stomach and a hand, but that an autopsy would be conducted.Brown appealed to the public for information, asking that anyone who heard or saw anything contact police. He said a witness who saw part of the chase called 911 and that investigators were talking to her.Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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