MONDAY UPDATE: The suspect is still in the hospital in critical condition.
Police spokesperson Lt. Christopher Cook said, William Paul Dodd, 21 is a known offender to Arlington Police and is also a convicted felon.
As recently as Friday he was being investigated and police tried to pull him over but he took off. Police did not engage in a chase.
Police say on Sunday, about 90 minutes before the mall incident, 911 operators got a call from a man who said he was Dodd.
Dodd said at one point during the initial call, “I know Arlington is looking for me but I got a gun so if y’all pull me over, I’m gonna shoot, so just be ready.”
Dodd reported that he was at Stovall Park and sounded incoherent on the call.
Officers got in touch with Dodd on a cell phone. They said Dodd sounded intoxicated. Officers went to Stovall Park but did not find him.
A short time later, the shoplifting incident happened at the Parks Mall.
“This could be a classic suicide-by-cop scenario,” said Cook.
Cook said the officer’s actions were heroic even though he probably doesn’t feel like one. He did exactly what he was supposed to an neutralized the threat, Cook said.
ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Arlington police say one suspect was shot by an officer at The Parks Mall Sunday afternoon.
Arlington police said in a tweet the incident at the mall was an officer-involved shooting involving one suspect.
According to police, the incident started as a theft report at a Sunglass Hut inside the mall. Mall security staff reported that they were following the suspect who had stolen two pairs of sunglasses.
Two officers at the mall initially responded to the scene. The suspect attempted to flee on foot and ran towards an escalator to go from the lower deck to the upper deck of the mall near the food court. There was one officer on the upper deck and one in lower deck.
Police say the suspect pulled out what appeared to be an imitation or replica firearm and pointed it at the officer on the lower deck. The officer fired his weapon, striking the suspect.
The suspect, who police say is in his early 20’s, was taken to a local hospital. A source tells CBS11 the suspect is in critical condition.
The officer involved is okay, and there were no other injuries.
The mall was closed and evacuated after the shooting.
Mall officials say the mall will be open during normal business hours on Monday.
According to police, officers recovered the suspect’s firearm and said it fires “BB’s” or pellets.
Police released photos that showed the scene during the altercation.
The shooting comes during one of the busiest shopping weekends of year.
When people inside the mall heard gunfire, some of them ran away as fast as they could. One teenager hid until police could escort his family to safety. Quan Nguyen didn’t have much time to think when he heard three shots ring out.
“We were scared so we ducked behind a jewelry store,” said Nguyen. “Everyone was running into restrooms… it was really crowded.”
Nguyen shot video of people scrambling to safety as others crouched for cover.
“After the first shot rang out, people were just standing there looking around. And then two more shots and people started screaming, running and finding a place to hide,” said Nguyen.
For 15 minutes, Nguyen and his cousins huddled together waiting and worrying.
“We were all freaking out. My mom and my aunt were at a different store, so we weren’t sure if they were okay or not,” said Nguyen.
He was reunited with his family as police escorted them to an emergency exit.
Cell phone video shows big crowds of shoppers outside and people stuck inside the mall.
“People were crying… people were trying to get their kids. Kids were getting run over. People didn’t know what to do. People in wheelchairs… it’s crazy,” said shopper Edith Shepard.