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DART Officer Says Crucifix Saved Her Life During Shooting

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A shooting victim is loaded into an ambulance after shots rang out at the Arapaho Center Station in Richardson on Feb. 7, 2012. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) - An officer with Dallas Area Rapid Transit is crediting a crucifix with saving her life, after a Tuesday afternoon shooting at a rail station that left two people dead, including the suspect. The incident happened at about 3:40 p.m. at the Arapaho Center Station in Richardson.

According to DART spokesman Mark Ball, a bus driver had a confrontation with a passenger who was trying to board a DART bus. The driver exited the bus when he saw the officer, and told her about the situation. The passenger then walked away toward a train platform, Ball said. As the officer approached, the passenger turned and opened fire. The female officer was hit in her protective vest and shoulder.

Two other individuals who were standing on the platform were also shot, Sgt. Kevin Perlich with the Richardson Police Department said during a Tuesday news conference. It was not clear whether those civilians were shot by the suspect, or accidentally shot by the DART officer. One of those victims died at the hospital. The other is expected to recover.

After the shooting, the suspect fled the scene. The DART officer was able to relay information to the police, who followed the suspect to a nearby  Vent-a-Hood warehouse, located about 200 yards from the train platform. Authorities entered the business and there was an exchange of gunfire, Perlich said. It was originally reported that the suspect took his own life but, Perlich later said, it was not clear whether the fatal wound came from the suspect or the police.

The victims were all taken to Medical Center of Plano, Ball said, and Perlich later confirmed that one of the civilians died. None of the victims nor the suspect have been identified. Late on Tuesday night, the shot officer returned to the train platform to help investigators canvas the area and clear up the circumstances of what took place.

The officer declined an interview, but said that a crucifix kept underneath her protective vest saved her life. A bullet hit the cross, she said.

The Arapaho Center Station was closed throughout the Tuesday afternoon rush hour due to crime scenes at both the bus and train platforms. The station was fully operational by 9:30 p.m. and things ran smoothly on Wednesday morning.

Managers and executives with DART held a meeting on Wednesday morning, and security issues were expected to be discussed. Ball said that he was not sure if the most recent shooting would lead to a change in any DART policies. “I don’t really know what can be done,” he said. “You have a right to carry in the state of Texas. We’ll be looking further into the incident.”

This is the fourth violent outburst on DART property in the past three months.

On November 2, a man shot another man in the thigh and sprinted out of the back door of a DART bus in Oak Cliff. The victim recovered from the shooting.

Three weeks later, 19-year-old Octavius Lanier was shoved into a moving DART train at the MLK Station, near Fair Park, by a group of teenage boys who were attempting to steal his iPod. Lanier was dragged by the train, severing his femoral artery. The Dallas County Medical Examiner said that Lanier died from blunt force trauma suffered during the incident.

And just last month, an argument on a northbound Blue Line train ended with a fatal shooting at the downtown Pearl Station. Dominique Wilson, 20, died at Baylor Medical Center shortly after.

In addition to those incidents, a career criminal was shot and killed on December 5 in a brief shootout with a plain-clothes officer aboard an Amtrak train at Union Station. On December 9, a KRLD report quoted DART spokesman Morgan Lyons as promising that the agency would install more cameras at train stations and on buses. “We always look at our data to inform our decisions about how we deploy our officers,” Lyons said. “We’re always trying to stay one step ahead, as best we can.”

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