One dead, two wounded in shooting at DART station

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by STEVE STOLER and REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on February 7, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 8 at 3:44 AM

Officer shot

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RICHARDSON — A DART police officer and two other people were shot at the Arapaho Center DART station in Richardson on Tuesday afternoon.

One of the civilians died later at a hospital, making it the third fatal incident at a DART light rail station since November.

Tuesday's shooting happened around 3:30 p.m. at the station near Greenville Avenue and Arapaho Road. DART spokesman Mark Ball said a man reported to be acting in a disorderly manner stepped from a DART bus, then crossed  over to the train platform.

"Apparently, he pulled his hands out from inside of his pockets and he had a gun in his hand, and that's when he started shooting at the DART officer," said Richardson police spokesman Sgt. Kevin Perlich.

The officer was wounded in the shoulder, the first DART officer to be shot in the line of duty. Another bullet struck her protective vest.

"We do know that she's in stable condition at Medical Center of Plano," Ball said.

The officer fired back at the gunman. As the bullets flew, two men who were waiting for a train on the platform were also wounded.

Two DART passengers also were wounded.

Richardson Fire Chief Alan Palomba said of the two civilian victims, one required cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene. That person, identified as 42-year-old Eric Thomas Johnson, later died, Richardson police confirmed.

Injuries to the other passenger were not life-threatening and he was released after being treated at a hospital.

"It's unclear whether or not it was the suspect himself who intentionally shot those individuals or if it was some type of cross-fire that they were involved in," Perlich said.

DART surveillance cameras were rolling when the shots were fired. That recording has been turned over to Richardson police.

The assailant ran across Greenville Avenue and into Vent-A-Hood, a nearby business.

Richardson police said the suspect then shot himself. Ball said he was dead. No identities have been released.

The Vent-A-Hood business was evacuated. Employee Sinclair Williams heard gunfire inside the building.

"My first thought was to get out of there, but I kind of crept closer to see what was going on, and that's when I saw a motorcycle police officer with his motorcycle uniform on — helmet and all — with his 9mm gun drawn, pointed at the suspect," Williams said. "That's when I heard four gunshots ... I saw shots, the muzzle flash and everything, fire."

Video obtained by News 8 shows workers running for their lives inside the plant.

Sgt. Perlich said the suspected gunman died of a gunshot wound to the head. It was not immediately clear if officers shot him or if he took his own life. Earlier, Perlich  told News 8 their officers fired no shots during the incident.

The plant supervisor took Williams and the other employees to the back part of the shop.

"The next thing I know, a swarm of officers came in the building with M-4s, fully loaded... came and patted all of us down, herded us outside."

Employees were gathered in small groups outside for questioning.

Late Monday night, investigators were still scouring the crime scene along the DART tracks to reconstruct what happened.

Greenville Avenue was closed to traffic between Arapaho Road and North Collins Boulevard in the hours following the incident.

DART light rail service was halted on the Red and Orange lines north of the Spring Valley station. DART established a "bus bridge" between the Spring Valley and Galatyn Park stations until service was restored at 6:20 p.m.

DART has recently pledged to boost security following two other fatal incidents at rail stations: A young man was pushed into the path of a train at MLK Station in November and another man was shot and killed at the downtown Pearl Station last month.

Ball, the transit agency's spokesman, defended the actions of its security personnel on Tuesday.

"There's not a whole lot we can do when someone just starts shooting without answering questions," he said. "We're saddened that customers were hurt, and obviously we're upset that our officer was hurt, but she did provide as much aid as she possibly could during the circumstances."

Ball added that the wounded officer provided  aid to the two others who were injured, while also providing a crucial description of the suspect to DART and Richardson police.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

E-mail sstoler@wfaa.com and rlopez@wfaa.com

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