Friends of suspect shocked after Dallas officer shot

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by SHON GABLES

Bio | Email | Follow: @shongables

WFAA

Posted on February 16, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 16 at 6:40 PM

DALLAS — Cars were lined up Sunday in the driveway outside Rakeem Perkins' home in the 1200 block of Bellafonte Drive.

Hamilton Park neighbors stood nearby, shielding the mother of the suspect in Saturday's shooting of a Dallas police officer.

"She's devastated," said long-time neighbor and friend Odell Cooper.

Perkins — a former Richardson high school athlete — is the sole suspect in the gunfire that wounded Officer Joshua Burns. Cooper said the accusations against Rakeem Perkins are both stunning and tragic.

"He was very good," said Dorothy Cooper. "I think what happened to him after his grandmother and grandfather died, he made a change."

Dorothy and Odell Cooper live next door to the house where Perkins lived with his mother. They said Perkins had recently spoken about attending church and wanting to turn his life around.

They wish it would have happened sooner.

"I hate that," said Odell Cooper. "His life is probably ruined, and now — as young as he is — if he goes to prison, no telling how much time they are gonna give him."

Investigators said Perkins got into a shootout with officers at a Northeast Dallas apartment complex on Saturday. Bullets riddled his car and shattered windows.

Officer Burns was hit three times.

Thurman Williams, who lives across the street from Perkins, has known him since he was a baby. He believes Perkins snapped Saturday afternoon following a domestic dispute. He said Perkins' family had been warning him to get out of the relationship.

"I heard them say, 'You need to leave her, and he kept saying he loved her," Williams recalled. "I guess love will make you do dumb things."

Perkins was shot in the leg and turned himself in with his mother at his side about five hours after the gunfire. He is now in jail with bond set at $2 million.

Officer Burns remains in intensive care at Baylor University Medical Center. His bulletproof vest is credited with saving his life.

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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