DALLAS — Tensions between police and the community were on full display Wednesday afternoon in the aftermath of the officer-involved shooting in South Dallas.
An angry crowd gathered. Several witnesses claimed that a Dallas County Sheriff’s deputy had shot a man without provocation.
But sheriff’s spokeswoman Melinda Urbina said the fleeing suspect, identified as 41-year-old Michael Wayne Morgan, was shot when he reversed his car and drove toward deputies. A deputy’s foot was driven over in the process. The deputy was treated at the scene.
“He wasn't armed with a gun but he was using his vehicle as a weapon,” Urbina said.
Morgan remains in stable condition and has been remotely booked into the Dallas County Jail, Urbina said. He faces charges of evading arrest and aggravated assault on a public servant.
Sheriff’s deputies were trying to arrest Morgan on two bond forfeiture warrants related to drug charges. When they spotted him at a restaurant about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, he drove off and a chase ensued for several blocks.
Morgan briefly stopped his car at the corner of Lagow Street and Copeland Avenue.
“He stopped long enough that they exited their vehicle to try to ask him to come out of the vehicle and apprehend and he obviously did not comply,” Urbina said.
He was shot when he reversed his car and drove toward deputies, she said.
“We think he tried to reverse his car probably to try to pull some kind of maneuver to get around them,” Urbina said.
Witnesses and police agree that he got out of the car and collapsed nearby.
Bryson Kimbrell and his wife were in their home when they heard the commotion. They say they came outside and saw the shooting.
“There was no way there was a cop in immediate danger,” Kimbrell said. "That was an uncalled for shooting.”
They initially thought the man had been killed.
Blocks away, community activists held a rally in front of a store at Second and Metropolitan Avenues to protest violence the area.
Two men have died in drive-by shootings, and one was gunned down in front of the TMA store Sunday. A 6-year-old was grazed by a bullet in front of that same store late last week.
The violence has the community on edge.
Anti-gang activist Lamont Levels knows Morgan. He had just seen him minutes earlier and said they’d spoken about the violence in the area.
“I think it's uncalled for,” Levels said. “They need to find another tactic. Another method of trying to capture young black men.”
Levels is a former gang leader who lost his sight 15 years ago in a drug deal gone bad. He now tries to keep kids out of gangs.
“I feel their pain right now and I feel like we just got to sit down and we got to have better dialog,” he said.
He understands the community’s frustration about the on-going violence.
“We can't just scream 'black lives matter' every time an officer shoots an individual,” he said. “We have to scream 'black lives matter' when it's black on black crime.”