HALTOM CITY — Officer John Bell, a 21-year veteran of the Fort Worth police force, was hospitalized in serious condition Tuesday night with three gunshot wounds, according to sources.
Bell and two colleagues were at an auto repair shop in the 1900 block of Carson Street in Haltom City just before 5 p.m. At the same time, Cody Loron, 31, a drug suspect running from Haltom City officers dumped his car about 100 yards from the shop.
"I know he stopped; don't know if he wrecked out, ran out of gas... no idea," said Haltom City police Cpl. Joe Hackfield. "I know he stopped, got out of the vehicle, and took off running through the area."
Hackfeld said he did not know where the narcotics investigation originated, but Haltom City officers immediately began a manhunt on foot for the fleeing suspect.
"Yeah, they searched our house, inside, all in the backyard, through the garage," said witness Lynsey Kentrick.
Fort Worth police spokeswoman Officer Sharron Neal said when the Fort Worth officers learned that Loron was at the back of the building where they were conducting an unrelated investigation, they began their own search.
When they found the Loron fleeing, Officer Neal said they were immediately fired upon. The officers fired back.
"Probably six rounds, six shots went off," Kentrick said. "We didn't know who shot who, but we heard a lot of shots."
Loron was killed. Officer Bell was shot three times. He was rushed to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth for treatment.
"He is being treated here by the best doctors in the city, and so we ask for all of our citizens to keep our officer in their thoughts and prayers," said Fort Worth police spokeswoman Cpl. Tracey Knight.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said Wednesday she spoke to the officer's wife Tuesday night.
"She's, obviously, very shook up, as we would expect," Price said. "But we're confiddent that he's stable and going to be okay. He's in great care, and his family has been well taken care of, too."
A fund for Ofc. Bell and his family has been set up by the Fort Worth Awards Foundation. You can make a donation by visiting this link and noting on the donation "for the officer injured on 1/29/2013."
Police said it was too early to determine how many officers fired at Loron.
"The suspect was armed, and this could've been a lot worse than it was," Neal said.