Fatal officer involved shooting
DALLAS –– A homeowner who killed a burglar was fatally shot by police after pointing his gun at officers in a northeast Dallas alleyway Thursday evening.
At about 7:46 p.m., two witnesses working on a home in the 10300 block of Plummer Dr. heard a gunshot echo out of an alleyway that ran adjacent to their location. They moved toward the sound and found an armed William Hall, 57, hovering over Jerry Hale, who had been shot and was pleading for his life.
Hall caught Hale, 30, burglarizing his home, police said.
“Mr. Hale is telling the individual that shot him that he didn’t need to shoot him again, that he was already down,” said police spokesman Maj. Jeff Cotner, who heads the crimes against persons division.
Hale’s girlfriend was nearby, peering at the situation over a fence. Cotner said she later told investigators that the two were “trying to hit a lick,” attempting to burglarize the home.
Meanwhile, the witnesses in the ally yelled at the homeowner that they’re calling 911. Cotner said the man waved the weapon at them, which prompted them to flee down the alley. In the first 911 call, witness David Humphrey retells the story to the dispatcher. The man standing over the burglar was a shirtless bearded white man wearing blue pants, he said.
Humphrey takes intermittent breaks to yell down the alley –– “Is he alive? Huh? You’re going to shoot him again? No! Don’t shoot him! Leave him alone! Police are on the way, leave him alone!”
Police are dispatched and it takes about two minutes for them to reach the scene, Cotner said. By this time, a second call had come in and reported the older man to be a homeowner.
“He says he caught him breaking into his house,” the caller said.
During that time, Hale’s girlfriend watched as the man standing over her boyfriend tried and tried again to manipulate the slide on his malfunctioning gun, Cotner said.
“He has his weapon, he is manipulating the slide. He is trying to load a round into the chamber,” Cotner said. “We learned after the incident, after the investigation that the weapon is inoperable, but we know the weapon fired at least one time.”
Hale died from that one bullet at the location where he was shot.
The first two officers on the scene were Alexander Everett and Kody Martinez. They met the witnesses in the driveway of the home. The witnesses told them about where the man is. Everett, a four-year veteran of the department, approached the corner before the alley with Martinez. They take cover behind a small retaining wall and yell for the man to drop his weapon.
“They issue verbal commands,” Cotner said. “Independent witnesses support the officers issuing verbal commands.”
Hall didn't heed those, instead he chose to walk backwards to a home caddy corner to where the police were. A privacy fence blocked the officers’ viewpoints.
“As he moved out of the alleyway, they could no longer see him,” Cotner said.
At about this time, an ambulance arrived to attend to Hale, who remained shot and alive in the alleyway. Everett darted to the ambulance; Cotner said the two police didn’t know where the suspect went. The ambulance could be in the line of fire.
Martinez, now in his second year in the force, continued to yell into the darkness for the man to drop his weapon. Ofcs. Daniel Ryan Summers and Joseph Thomason arrived to provide support. These two split up, Thomason taking a route down the alley where Hale is, Summers ending up on a street adjacent to the alley.
Then, Ofcs. Julian McDaniel and Joshua Wilson get to the scene and find Hale lying in a pool of blood. They immediately begin rendering aid as the ambulance remained a safe distance removed from the active crime scene, Cotner said.
Everett sees the two helping Hale and ran to them, shouting for them to turn around –– they’re out in the open and there’s a missing, armed suspect. During this time, Hall, the homeowner, had hidden in heavy overgrowth in his backyard.
“Code enforcement had been out there recently and issued a summons about the high weeds,” Cotner said.
Soon after, Hall emerged from his hiding spot with a gun in his hand. He began manipulating the slide again, Cotner said. As he reached his driveway, police again yelled for him to drop the weapon. Instead, he continued to try and load a bullet in the chamber. He then raised his gun to police.
Summers, McDaniel and Everett fired their weapons. Cotner said Hall was shot and fell to the ground. The gun remained nearby. As officers approached, Hall reached for it and again pointed it at police. The officers shoot again, killing him.
“Our individual had plenty of opportunities to deescalate,” Cotner said.
The major added that investigators have searched for mental health data on Hall and looked at his criminal history and found nothing of significance. The incident remains under investigation; Cotner said it was too soon to determine whether the shooting was considered a suicide by cop. Hall was described by police as a “hoarder,” an “unkempt, disheveled” recluse.
The first officers to respond were not aware that Hall was a homeowner, Cotner said. Despite that, Cotner argued that police issued plenty of commands and gave him numerous chances to surrender.
In an interview, Humphrey said he heard police warn Hall to drop his weapon “at least 20 times.” None of the police officers have discharged a weapon before.
“If the gun had not malfunctioned, yes, (Hall) possibly would have shot others,” Cotner said.
News 8's Sebastian Robertson contributed to this report