DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Two Dallas police officers narrowly avoided death Sunday when a 31-year-old suspect fired ten rounds from an automatic rifle at them while they sat in their squad car, DPD officials said.
Officer Richard Whitt was shot multiple times and is stable at Baylor Hospital with non-life threatening leg injuries, Deputy Police Chief Craig Miller said. Officer Juan Rangel was not injured in the shooting.
The officers were called to an apartment complex at Lake June Road and Prairie Creek Sunday around 9 p.m. because of an “active shooter.”
When police arrived, Miller said the shooter opened fire on the patrol car with an assault rifle, sending bullets whizzing through the windshield and headrest and flying out the back window. Miller said Whitt might have been killed had he not exited the vehicle one second before he was shot in the leg.
“Officer Whitt is extremely lucky to have survived,” Miller said.
Police Chief David Brown issued a release Monday afternoon that said the suspect, identified as 31-year-old Kenneth Michael Horton, shot at least 36 rounds in the apartment complex.
“It was awful, I mean, it was a massive hole,” said witness Terrance Perkins. “I just thank God it wasn’t us or the bullet didn’t come our way, because a bullet doesn’t have a name on it.”
Brown said the Horton then fled into a nearby alley and shot himself in the head.
He came to the Prairie Creek apartments to stalk his girlfriend at about 9 p.m. Sunday. Horton opened fire on her apartment, and then shot at Keenon Furnance, an innocent bystander and father of three young children who came outside to see what was happening.
“I felt it,” he said. “Felt like a truck hit my leg.”
Furnance was shot in the back and the leg, but should be released from the hospital later this week. After shooting Furnance, Horton reportedly reloaded his weapon with 120 rounds, fled to a nearby alley and killed himself.
Police would later find even more ammunition in Horton’s truck.
“I am particularly proud of the heroic actions of all the officers at the scene who responded quickly to the original calls from the public and tried diligently to locate the gunman as they worked to protect apartment residents and themselves,” Brown wrote in the release. “They are all a credit to the department and to the city of Dallas.”
Prairie Creek Road was closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles shortly after the shooting, but has since reopened.
“The officers in this case were very heroic and did an outstanding job,” Miller said.