News 8 Exclusive
EULESS -- Euless police officers have filed their first written accounts of the gun battle that left officer Dave Hofer mortally wounded, and the shooter dead.
The writings reveal frustration and anguish. They also depict an apparent effort by the gunman to trick officers into holding their fire. News 8 was allowed to review the draft documents by the officers’ attorney.
Officers had little reason to suspect trouble when they entered Carr Park on March 1 to investigate a report of shots fired. People in the park were acting normally. Officers heard on their radios that a possible suspect had already been stopped nearby.
Officer Dave Hofer had volunteered to help on the call, and took lead position crossing the park. He spotted a man in a creek. As Hofer told him to show his hands, the man rose up and shot Hofer in mid-sentence, according to a written statement by an officer who was standing behind Hofer.
“Suspect comes up from behind the ledge and fires a round point blank into Dave’s face,” said attorney Randy Moore.
A rifle round. Moore says the gunman had a rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun in a gun fight against the officers’ pistols.
Dave Hofer tumbled into the creek next to the shooter. His friends, fellow veterans of NYPD, watched in horror.
“They could see Dave in the creek, not responding and bleeding,” Moore said Wednesday. “They could see the suspect near Dave, trying to conceal himself. And, being right next to Dave, creating another threat of officers hitting another officer who was down.”
Written statements reveal frustration and desperation as officers tried to get a shot at 22-year-old Jorge Gonzalez without hitting Officer Hofer.
“You can hear that on the radio more than one time. People saying, 'We got to get to him.' 'We got to get to Dave.' 'We got to help Dave,'" Moore said. "And they couldn’t get to him."
According to statements, at one point, the gunman put up his hands to surrender, then pulled up a long gun and continued firing.
Moore says officers showed professionalism, and even restraint.
“They don’t fire rounds when they can’t account for bullets,” Moore said. “When the suspect tries to give up, they give him the chance to give up. They did everything they were supposed to do, even while they can see their best friend laying in a ditch, bleeding. That’s true professionalism.”
Randy Moore is with the Texas Municipal Police Association, which represents officers. He says statements from four of those involved were turned over to investigators with the Euless Police Department on Wednesday.
He praises the department for its handling of the internal investigation, without putting pressure on traumatized officers.
Moore says he’s told no police bullets hit Dave Hofer, and that the shooter was hit at least five times.
“They want people to know they did their job, and did it as well as they could,” he said. “And they’re still committed to doing their job today, even after suffering this horrendous loss.”
But Moore says recent attacks on police are taking a mental toll, especially on the Euless officers involved.
Early Sunday morning a DWI suspect intentionally rammed an Arlington police cruiser. The attack on Fort Worth officers followed two days later.
“It’s surreal,” Moore said.