FORT WORTH Fort Worth police apprehended a man Tuesday afternoon following a harrowing 45-minute pursuit that ended in the shadow of a city recreation center.
The pursuit started at a residence in the 1100 block of Trinidad Drive. Police received a call from a child at that address to report that parents were fighting.
According to an arrest affidavit, Michael Curtis Pierce briefly barricaded himself inside the home. Police met the victim, his wife, on the front yard. She told them they had been together for 11 years and had two children together.
She said when she returned from work, Pierce, 37, was waiting for her with a knife that was halfway out of his pocket. She told him to put the knife away and then walked to the bedroom to change clothes.
The affidavit says Pierce followed her and would not let her leave. She tried to slip by him, but he grabbed her by the neck and choked her, according to the document. She lost her breath at least three times during the attack and nearly passed out.
Pierce then let her go and ordered her to leave the home, but not before punching her in the face with a closed fist, the document says.
Firefighters arrived and treated her in the driveway when a black pickup truck burst through a closed garage door, narrowly missing two emergency personnel and their patient as he fled the scene.
Battalion Chief Richard Harrison said the firefighters jumped out of the way and took their patient with them as the pickup raced past them.
"At that time, they didn't know anybody was in the garage, and so everybody was surprised at the same time," Chief Harrison said.
One of the firefighters suffered minor injures and was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
"They were actually crossing the driveway as he came out in his pickup truck and just had enough time to jump out of the way," Harrison added.
The affidavit says Pierce poured gasoline throughout the house before fleeing.
Police began chasing the man along freeways and city streets.
The incident ended shortly after 5 p.m. when the suspect's truck already crippled by a flat tire crashed through a barricade and drove across the field surrounding the Highland Hills Recreation Center in the 1600 block of Glasgow Road, four miles north of where the pursuit started.
The pickup sailed between the entrance of the center and a waiting school bus, and then came to a stop along a sidewalk.
Pierce, now shirtless, exited the cab of the truck and immediately grabbed what appeared to be a green canvas bag from the bed as four police cars pulled up behind him.
When it appeared that the man refused to comply with orders to drop the bag, police fired a stun gun to bring him down.
Pierce was handcuffed and led away.
"Glad they caught him and he's off the street," said Michael Bobbitt, a neighbor of the suspect. "Hopefully we'll go back to being a safe little neighborhood."
Arson investigators were called to the house on Trinidad Drive because of the fire threat.