LANCASTER — A Lancaster police officer and the son of Dallas police Chief David Brown are among the three people who were killed in gunfire Sunday evening at an apartment complex in the 900 block of River Bend Drive.
Many of the facts surrounding the complicated crime scene remained unclear late Sunday night.
Lancaster Police Chief Keith Humphrey said the Lancaster officer — a five-year veteran of the force and a father of two children — was answering a "shooting in progress" call around 6 p.m. when there was an exchange of gunfire.
The officer was identified by the Dallas County Medical Examiner's office as 37-year-old Craig Shaw, 37, a father of two who worked at the Lancaster Police Department for five years.
Dallas police First Assistant Chief Charles Cato confirmed the death of Chief Brown's son, David O'Neal Brown Jr., in a statement made at police headquarters late Sunday night.
"Chief Brown is with his family this evening," Cato said, adding that the chief mourns the loss of the Lancaster officer in addition to his own son.
"Chief Brown asks that the Dallas community keep his family in their prayers this evening — and in the days to come — as his family tries to comprehend the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident," Cato said.
The third person killed was identified as Jeremy McMillian, 22, of Lancaster. Carolyn Henderson, whose husband is pastor at Christian Holy Temple Church of God in Christ in Oak Cliff, said McMillian had been a member of their congregation.
"He's my kind of godson," Henderson said. "He grew up with my children."
There appeared to be three crime scenes in different areas of the apartment complex. At one location, a vehicle was covered in blue tarp and an unmarked police car could be seen a short distance away.
A second scene, near a complex pool, appeared focused on a red sport utility vehicle.
The third scene, at the rear of the complex, was centered on a white four-door vehicle that appeared to have crashed next to a Dumpster.
"Officers responded to the apartment complex and started looking for the shooter," said Kim Leach, a Dallas County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. "At the time, the suspect turned and shot one of the officers, killing him. Another officer returned fire at the suspect and shot and killed him."
It was not made clear whether Brown or McMillian was the suspect.
Several residents at the River Bend apartments said they witnessed the violence and its immediate aftermath, but officials were mum about the precise sequence of events.
"I just heard lots of quick shots — you know, like, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, you know — that's all I heard," said Pat Miles. "I jumped down on the floor."
The 37-year-old Lancaster officer was taken to a hospital for treatment and later died. "The investigation is ongoing," Chief Humphrey said.
Dozens of officers from Lancaster, Red Oak and DeSoto were at the scene. Investigators from the Dallas County Sheriff's department were collecting evidence and taking notes.
"I'll keep praying for both of them — the suspect's family and the officer's family," Miles said.
Chief Humphrey said this is a very sad moment for the Lancaster Police Department.
"We lost an officer tonight in the line of duty," he said. "We're heartbroken, and his family is devastated."
David Brown Sr. has been Chief of Police in Dallas for less than two months. His wife, Cedonia, is a sergeant on the Dallas force.
In 2003, Brown Jr. was arrested on suspicion of selling marijuana in Waxahachie. He pleaded no contest and was convicted of a misdemeanor.
The chief said in an interview earlier this year that he was proud of the way his son, also a father, grew after the incident.
"I'm much more impressed when you make mistakes, how you respond to it," Brown said in May. "It speaks to the kind of man he is. He continued his education, he's gainfully employed in spite of some of the mistakes that he's made."
For Brown, the death of his only son on Father's Day is the latest in a line of personal tragedies.
In 1988, his police academy classmate and former partner Walter L. Williams was fatally shot in the line of duty. Three years later, his younger brother, Kelvin Brown, was killed in the Phoenix area by drug dealers.
Brown has said increased crime in his native Oak Cliff neighborhood played a key role in leading him to become a Dallas police officer in 1983.
As did many others, Carolyn Henderson had many unanswered questions after the death of McMillian, who she called "a very good guy."
"Who shot him, and why did he get shot? And what was the reason?" she asked. "I mean, if it was an accident, then still, we still need to know."
WFAA.com editor Walt Zwirko and The Dallas Morning News contributed to this report.