Highland Park police: Officer-involved shooting suspect fired gun in custody



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Posted on June 4, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 4 at 10:57 PM

HIGHLAND PARK -- The Highland Park Department of Public Safety said its officers fatally shot a motorcyclist on Tuesday evening after he was able to fire a small gun and escape from police custody on Mockingbird Lane and Airline Road near SMU.

Police closed a long stretch of Mockingbird Lane from the Central Expressway along much of SMU's southern border for more than four hours on Tuesday.

The incident began about 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday when someone called Highland Park police to report a green motorcycle following them. 

Highland Park officers found the motorcycle parked at the Barnes & Noble shopping center in the 3000 block of Mockingbird Lane. A few minutes later, the motorcyclist came out of the Luke's Locker store there where officers confronted him. The suspect fled, but was quickly subdued.

Police handcuffed and detained the motorcyclist after discovering the green motorcycle was stolen and the driver had an outstanding warrant for 'fleeing from police.'

Witnesses told News 8 that minutes later they heard a loud pop and saw the back window of the Highland Park Police SUV shatter.

"The suspect was able to escape the handcuffs where he was able to use a small firearm he still had on his person," said Lt. Marc Rossini, Highland Park Police. "The suspect fired one shot out of the patrol car. Both officers returned fire striking the suspect." 

Paramedics took the suspect to Parkland Hospital where he later died. Police did not immediately release his name.

The suspect is only believed to have fired one shot, Rossini said, while police shot at least three rounds. One bullet struck a passing Mercedes in the busy intersection of Mockingbird and Airline, but no one else got hurt.

At issue on Tuesday night was why Highland Park officers did not thoroughly search the suspect to find the hidden weapon before handcuffing and detaining him.

Highland Park asked the Dallas County Sheriff's Office to investigate its officer-involved shooting, as is the department's policy.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com