WEATHERFORD – Police say they shot and killed a suspect Tuesday morning after the man refused to pull over, led officers on a chase, and ultimately forced his way into a patrol car where there was a duty weapon.
According to Weatherford Police Public Information Officer Chris Crawford, at 4:16 a.m., and officer with Weatherford PD attempted to pull over a tan SUV for running a stop sign on Ric Williamson Memorial Highway. The driver, later identified as a 41-year-old white male from Weatherford, refused to pull over and a chase began.
Officers chased the suspect onto eastbound Interstate 20 before he exited onto Bethel Road. He continued down Bethel Road, until at one point, the suspect slammed on his brakes, put his vehicle in reverse, and rammed into a pursuing patrol unit. He continued southbound down Bethel before finally losing control of the SUV and running off the road near the intersection of Bethel and Thompson roads, Crawford said.
Police say the suspect attempted to free his vehicle, but eventually gave up, exited the SUV, and began walking quickly toward the driver's side of the closest police vehicle while carrying a baby seat. The officers in the police unit had left the vehicle and positioned themselves on the passenger side for cover.
The suspect reached the driver's side door, ignoring commands to stop, threw the baby seat into the patrol vehicle and got in the driver's seat, where police say he was within arm's reach of a shotgun in the police car's gun rack.
Police said there was no baby in the car seat, however police did find the suspect's wife, a child, and another man in the wrecked-out SUV.
One of the officers shot several times through the passenger window of the vehicle, striking the suspect. Emergency medical responders were called to the scene as officers provided basic medical attention, Crawford said.
Medical personnel declared the suspect dead at the scene.
According to police, as they were investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident Tuesday, they learned of a gas leak at the suspect's rented home. So much gas had built up in the small home that authorities had to shut down all of Palo Pinto Street while they ventilated the location.
The suspect's identity has not been released as authorities attempt to contact his next of kin. A close acquaintance said the dead man is 41-year-old Michael Tindall. He had an active felony warrant for his arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for a stabbing Saturday near the suspect's home in Weatherford.
The Texas Rangers will take lead on the investigation, as is the case in most officer-involved shootings.
The officer who fired on the suspect is a five-year Weatherford police veteran and he has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation.