FORT WORTH - What began as a burglary call in North Fort Worth resulted in a confusing sequence of events where two civilians stepped in to stop two teenage suspects before responding officers could act.
Police department spokesman Maj. Paul Henderson said officers responded to a burglary call in the 10000 block of Tulare Lane off Heritage Trace at 2:35 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
"I heard gunshots," said one woman, who asked not to be identified. "Next thing I know there's ambulances, fire trucks and everything is in chaos."
It all started minutes earlier, when that woman witnessed two young men breaking into a home behind hers.
"I was not sure exactly what was going on," she added. "It didn't fit - two men with a bat - so I called 911."
Officers arrived minutes later, but before they could act, two civilians did.
One was on a scheduled "ride along," in which approved citizens can go on patrol with on-duty officers.
The civilian on the "ride along," a man in his 20s police said, jumped out to chase the suspects before the officers could, which is something the department admitted should not have happened.
"No, we don't like that to happen," Maj. Henderson said.
Then seconds later, a neighbor thinking police might be in trouble grabbed his own gun and opened fire on the suspects in their 2005 gray Ford Focus, striking both of them.
The 17-year-old suspects, both suffering gunshot wounds, are recovering at JPS Hospital in Fort Worth.
Friends said one of the teenagers was struck in the arm and had been in trouble with police before.
The neighbor who opened fire told investigators he thought the civilian riding along with police was an undercover detective in danger of being run over.
Neither the neighbor's name nor the civilian in the ride along was released Thursday night.
Fort Worth police now face a complicated investigation; questioning why the neighbor stepped in with his own gun, re-examining ride alongs in city police cars, and trying to get to the bottom of the burglary that started it all.