DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The sounds that rang out in the last few minutes of Thursday night were unusual. Bullets pierced the windows and hood of a Dallas police squad car, during a shootout between two officers and their suspects.
“Ta-ta-ta-ta-ta,” Severo Castanon recalled the sounds of the barrage of gunfire he heard outside his home. Castanon was lying in bed with his 5-year-old son just before Midnight on Thursday, when it started.
“I heard the gunshots and I threw myself on the floor with my wife and son,” he said.
Officers Jeffrey Berry and Daniel Arrivillaga have been with the Dallas Police Department for just over four years.
According to Major Robert Sherwin, the two had just pulled over a late model Hyundai. He said, “It literally appears to look like a routine traffic stop. That’s why it’s so shocking.”
A source close to the investigation told CBS 11 News that dash cam video captured the shooter stepping out of the passenger side of the vehicle and immediately opening fire.
Sherwin said the bullets came “very close” to the officers, but never struck them.
According to the department, the officers returned fire, but lost sight of the suspects after a short chase. Hours later, police responded to a report of car fire and found the suspects’ Hyundai partially burned. Investigators believe the suspects tried to torch it, but failed. The damage, a source told CBS 11, appeared to be minor.
Police are now sweeping the car for evidence and asking the public for any clues about the crime and the persons responsible.
“An armed suspect opened fire on uniformed officers in a police car. The citizens of the city should be concerned,” said Sherwin.
A police policy that took effect late last year prevents the department from questioning officers involved in a shooting for 72 hours. In this case, department official’s say that means it can’t take a formal statement from Berry and Arrivillaga until Tuesday.
Regardless of the status of the officers, Dallas police say they are aggressively investigating the case and pursuing those involved.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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