One of the busiest retail weekends of the year ended abruptly for shoppers after a theft suspect was shot by police in the middle of The Parks Mall at Arlington.
Arlington police say an on-duty officer fired more than once after the suspect pointed what appeared to be a weapon at the officer.
Lt. Christopher Cook said after the shooting officers realized the weapon wasn't real.
"He produced what we believe to be an imitation or fake replica style gun,” Cook said. "There’s no way an officer or even a citizen could distinguish between the two.”
The suspect, identified as 21-year-old William Paul Dodd, was taken to the hospital for surgery.
At about 4:30 p.m., authorities received a call regarding a theft incident at Sunglass Hut.
As mall security investigated the call, two Arlington officers also moved into assist. Surveillance cameras positioned in the mall captured what happened next.
APD released three still images from the video, which Cook said detectives have reviewed. The video shows the entirety of the shooting that took place on an escalator between the first and second level of the mall.
At least three officers surrounded the suspect to render aid after the shooting.
Edgar Cabriales works at a kiosk on the second level and described to WFAA what he witnessed.
"I hear a guy saying ‘hey’ and I was just like looking at him and he literally just pulled a gun, try to shoot a cop because the cop was ride beside my kiosk," Cabriales said.
Arlington detectives worked through the night Sunday to process the scene.
Calls to The Parks at Arlington on when the mall would reopen were not immediately returned.
Anyone at the Parks Mall is able to go to their vehicle. The incident is under control. The Parks Mall has closed so please avoid the area. Follow instructions from First Responders if inside the mall.— Arlington Police, TX (@ArlingtonPD) November 26, 2017
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Cook said authorities have learned Dodd is a known criminal offender and a convicted felon. Dodd had a warrant out for his arrest in regards to a false report he made claiming he was a victim of a drive-by shooting.
On Friday, an Arlington police officer tried to arrest Dodd for a traffic violation however he ran at that time.
An hour before the theft incident, Arlington 911 received a call from someone claiming to be William Dodd. In the brief call with a 911 operator, Dodd said he was a suspect in an evading arrest call. He then disconnects the call and 911 operators try to return the call.
On the second call returned to Dodd, the operator tried to get identifying information from him but Dodd had changed his mind and refused to turn himself in. He told operators that he was at Stovall Park and reiterated he had a gun and would shoot police if they came near him.
Officers were dispatched to Stovall Park at 3:30 p.m., just a half an hour after the original call was made, but they didn't find any signs of Dodd.
An hour later is when they received the theft call at The Parks Mall.
Dodd is still at the Medical Center of Arlington Hospital heavily sedated and in critical condition. Police have not been able to interview him due to his condition.
Cook said the department has seen imitation weapons circulating for quite some time and "serious conversations as a society need to be had as to why the imitations look so real, including talks directly with manufacturers."
Watch the full press conference below:
NOTE: An earlier version of this story indicated the officer was working off-duty. Arlington PD later clarified the officer was on-duty as part of its South Retail District Unit.
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