Hundreds of Dallas-area residents swarmed a crime scene Tuesday night after a police officer fatally shot a suspect, according to reports. Over the weekend, a similar situation unfolded in Anaheim, California, but in Dallas the police were able to give a detailed account of why the suspect was shot.
In an evening news conference, Chief David Brown explained that police responded to an emergency call that a victim had been kidnapped, tied up, and was being dragged into what is described as a well-known “drug house” by five to six males.
Three officers responded to the call, and when they knocked on the door they heard “scurrying” inside, and windows being broken. At this point, according to reports, four suspects fled the house using different exits, and police saw a gun on the table and crack-cocaine.
My Fox DFW/KDFW has more information on the officer who shot the suspect:
According to Brown, eight-year DPD veteran Officer Brian Rowden chased James Harper, fighting the suspect three times. Rowden was losing fight and was exhausted when, according to Brown, Harper said, “You’re going to have to kill me.”
Rowden feared for his life and fatally shot Harper, Brown said.
Here is the police chief’s entire explanation:
The Fox affiliate continues, describing the subsequent protest:
Word of the shooting quickly spread through the neighborhood as family members and the curious rushed to the scene, eventually amassing in the hundreds and prompting police to call for additional crowd control, including SWAT. In fact, officers armed with pepper ball guns and shields forced the crowd back amid reports of people trying to cut through fences to gain access to the shooting scene.
The slain man’s inconsolable mother and enraged father confronted police and media at the scene. Both said their 31-year-old son was unarmed and fleeing police when he was shot in the back.
“No reason for him to be shot like a dog. If he’s running away from them, ain’t no reason,” James White said.
However, Brown downplayed that possibility. “We don’t believe any of the family members witnessed anything,” Brown said, adding that family members make similar claims “on almost every shooting.”
During the news conference, Brown read a report of Harper’s extensive criminal background, which includes numerous counts of manufacturing and delivering a controlled substance and subsequent related probation violations, assault on a security officer, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, assault on a public servant; evading arrest, failure to identify as a fugitive from justice, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle [stealing a car].
Here is video of the protests, and an interview with the suspect’s parents, via WFAA:
However, police say there is a possibility the men were not responsible for kidnapping– the reason the original call was placed. In all likelihood, according to reports, the call was placed by a rival drug gang.
The officer who shot the suspect is being placed on administrative leave while the situation is investigated, and the Chief Brown detailed the extensive procedure, which includes multiple third-parties.
Harper’s father told CBS: “Even if he had a confrontation with the police, he didn’t have anything. You could have Tased my son…But for you to just sit up there and kill him? No. I’m through with it.”
He added: “We’ll let justice take care of this stuff, that’s all I [have to] say. [We'll] put it in the law’s hands.”