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Mesquite Police Officer Kills Burglary Suspect

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Stephanie Lucero
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UPDATED @12:30 p.m. with suspect’s name.

MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) - Police in Mesquite said that an officer shot and killed a suspect early Friday morning, following a chase that ended in a violent struggle.

According to a spokesperson for the Mesquite Police Department, the officers were responding to a call about a residential burglary. A pursuit took place and, Lt. Bill Hedgpeth said, there was a violent struggle between one of the officers and one of the suspects. “At that point, the officer, fearing for his life, fired his weapon, striking the suspect in the abdomen,” said Hedgpeth.

The suspect, later identified by police as 20-year-old Efrain Zarzoza, died after he was transported to the hospital.

zarzoza efrain dob 041491 Mesquite Police Officer Kills Burglary Suspect

Efrain Zarzoza was shot and killed by an officer with the Mesquite Police Department after a burglary, police chase and crash. (credit: Dallas County Jail)

According to police, it started shortly before midnight. Officers responded to a call that there was a burglary in the 1600 block of Hickory Tree Road in Mesquite. The caller told police that the suspects fled in a large white van. Mesquite police officers spotted a van matching that description and, Hedgpeth said, when they attempted to stop the van, the suspects fled and there was a pursuit.

Police said that the van crashed into a front yard fence in the 2700 block of Oak Bend Lane in Dallas, not far from Mesquite and about a mile and a half from the burglary location. Hedgpeth said that two of the men in the van were taken into custody immediately, but a third man fled on foot.

Sha Brewer and her son were in their home across the street. They looked out when they heard helicopters and a large number of police sirens in the area. “We looked across the street and all you could see was this fight. The police and the guy fighting. The guy was just beating on the police. I mean, he was abusing. He was a pretty big guy,” said Brewer. “Then he came out of his shirt and he was just beating on the police, and the police was kind of out of breath.”

“I thought the police officer got him down, but he got up,” said Jerden Woodhouse, Brewer’s son. “The police had [the suspect] on the wall at first, then he just somehow just started beating [the police officer] up.” Woodhouse said that he was concerned about the officer’s welfare. “He wasn’t winning the fight. I wasn’t sure if the man had a gun or what.”

Hedgpeth said that, as of this morning, it wasn’t known if Zarzoza had a weapon.

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