DALLAS - One of the Dallas police officers who was shot at Home Depot Tuesday afternoon has died.
“We come before you this morning with broken hearts and we regret to inform you that Officer Rogelio Santander, badge #10934, has succumbed to his injuries. We are asking that you continue to pray for the family and the DPD family. This is going to be a trying time for us so we’re just asking for your support during this time,” said Chief Renee Hall.
The chief was happy to report that Officer Crystal Almeida and Home Depot loss prevention officer, Scott Painter, are making remarkable recoveries.
“They are still in critical condition, but we are optimistic about what we are seeing with them right now,” Chief Hall said.
Dallas Police Association President Sgt. Michael Mata said Officer Almeida is now communicating with doctors and family members through movements.
“She has gone through protocols of the physicians to show that she has cognitive skill and recognition. She’s able to move parts of her arms and legs. So for taking the injury that she did, that’s amazing,” he said.
Painter is also doing well, Mata said.
“We want to thank him because just like those officers he risked his life too. He took bullets that maybe would have been pointed in the direction of our officers and he took them,” he said. “Just as we are going to be there for the Dallas officers, we’re also going to be there for Mr. Painter and his family.”
Both Officer Almeida and 27-year-old Officer Santander were assigned to the Northeast Division. They were hired by the department three years ago. Painter is a resident of The Colony.
GUNMAN IN CUSTODY
Police escorted 29-year-old Armando Juarez to the Dallas County jail around 2 a.m. He was captured after a five-hour search followed by a high-speed chase Tuesday night.
The shooting happened around 4 p.m. at the Home Depot store off Forest Lane and the Central Expressway. Police said an off-duty officer tried to detain Juarez. When additional officers arrived for backup, Juarez allegedly pulled out a gun and started shooting.
Several people were inside the store when the shooting happened.
"We were just checking out people until we started hearing people like 'There's a shooting. They're shooting,'" said witness Mercedes Goledo. "From there, they were just telling us to get out the building. Get out the building. But then they found out that he had went outside."
Several hours later, a rookie officer spotted Juarez’ truck in Southeast Dallas. Police tried to pull him over but he took off, weaving through traffic, into neighborhoods, over sidewalks and through yards. But when he made a turn onto a dead-end street near Mockingbird Lane and the Dallas North Tollway that’s where his luck ended.
Juarez crashed into several vehicles and a fence. No one was hurt and he was taken into custody without further incident around 9 p.m.
Residents in the neighborhood said they figured the high-speed chase was connected to the Home Depot shooting by the sheer number of officers involved.
“The fence is damaged. A few vehicles are damaged. He took out the basketball hoop and somehow it is bent in the truck,” said Hedaya Khan, who lives in the house where the chase ended.
“I was alarmed but at the same time I felt better because the guy that was going everywhere was finally caught,” said Lamar Ibrahim, who saw the chase.
Juarez has been charged with capital murder. His bond was set at more than $1 million. He also has a criminal record with two outstanding warrants.
Police said a female passenger was also taken into custody. It’s not year clear if she is connected to the shooting or is facing any charges.
THOUGHTS & PRAYERS
A large number of Dallas police officers gathered outside Presbyterian hospital overnight to show support for the injured officers.
It was an emotional scene at times with officers exchanging hugs. The gathering was yet another reminder about the dangers they all face on a day-to-day basis.
Chief Hall and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke to reporters late Tuesday night.
“On behalf of the city council and citizens of Dallas, I want to thank our Dallas police tonight. They have taken a punch and they have come out fighting. And they’ve brought someone into custody,” Rawlings said. “But we wanted to get back with you and ask you again for one thing and that is for your prayers for these officers right here.”
“I want to take the opportunity to thank the officers for an outstanding job. All of our support from our surrounding state, local and federal officers throughout the Metroplex,” the chief said.
Dozens of future law enforcement students from Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet at Townview Center showed their support to the Dallas Police Department. They gathered in a circle outside police headquarters chanting, "Law magnet backs the blue. Law magnet backs the blue."
The 60 or so sophomores and juniors hope to one day study law and become officers or judges. Some of them have family members in the Dallas Police Department.
"It could be my sister. So I feel like all of us are in a brotherhood and my sisters are united. And so everyone that falls, everyone feels it," said Brittney Morales, a student.
Gov. Greg Abbott also said his thoughts and prayers are with the Dallas Police Department and the victims. He added that Texas honors all the men and women who protect and serve our communities.
DPA already has a website established for anyone who would like to donate. The Assist the Officer Foundation provides assistance for officers and their families when officers are injured in the line of duty.