MESQUITE (CBSDFW.COM) – A driver who refused to pull over for a traffic stop was shot and killed by police in Mesquite early Friday. The shooting happened in the middle of the LBJ Freeway, after that man led officers on an hour-long high-speed chase that ended with a standoff.
It all started just before midnight, when officers tried to pull over a Cadillac sedan that failed to stop at two intersections. The driver refused to listen to police, and the chase got underway. Authorities pursued the man down Interstate-30 through Dallas and into Grand Prairie, and then Arlington. The driver turned south onto Highway 161 toward Interstate-20. The suspect then headed east back through Grand Prairie and Dallas.
Authorities from Mesquite and Grand Prairie, along with deputies from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, assisted with either the chase or the resulting traffic. A helicopter from the Dallas Police Department flew overhead.
Officers were able to spike the car’s tires and the vehicle came to stop in the northbound lanes of Interstate-635, close to Town East Boulevard. Then, a lengthy standoff began as police spent more than an hour trying to convince the armed man to get out and surrender.
“I can say that it’s common for our negotiators to attempt to end a situation like this peacefully, so they’ll try to start dialogue over the phone — try their best to end it peacefully,” said Lt. Brian Parrish. “Clearly, wasn’t a situation that this man wanted to end peacefully.”
The man opened his car’s door just before 2:00 a.m. on Friday, and waved a gun at officers. The weapon was wrapped in a towel. Mesquite Police later confirmed the weapon was a pellet gun. Two police officers fired at the man multiple times, killing him in the middle of the highway. Authorities said that he was verbally threatening the officers.
The suspect was later identified as Mario Martinez of Mesquite, a 29-year-old man with a long criminal history.
“I think all the officers involved showed a lot of restraint,” Parrish added. “The period of time from when vehicle stopped, and numerous times showed a weapon and presented a threat — the officers were restrained and did not shoot or use deadly force when it was pointed at officers. They had no other choice but to fire on suspect.”
Officials are not sure why he refused to stop but, during the standoff, he threw a piece of jewelry at police. Detectives gathered around the black sedan to collect evidence after the incident was over. The northbound side of Interstate-635 in Mesquite was shut down for several hours while investigators were at the scene. Check the traffic map for updates.