RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – Support continues to pour in on Friday for the Richardson Police Department, and the family of fallen officer David Sherrard, a 14-year veteran of the force and the first to die in the line of duty in the department’s history. His body was escorted to the Restland Funeral Home in Dallas on Thursday night.
During the emotional procession, officers could be seen saluting their fallen brother, described by police as “one of our finest.”
People began stopping by the Richardson police headquarters Thursday morning with flowers, balloons and notes with words of comfort. That will no doubt happen again on Friday and throughout the weekend, as North Texans stop to remember a man who loved his community, and died serving it.
Flags were lowered to half-staff outside of the headquarters.
The death hits particularly close to home for Angela Casavant. Her husband is also a Richardson police officer. She wants the grieving family to know that the community is there for them. “My husband raved about what a wonderful officer he was,” she said. “Law enforcement lost a good one, for sure.”
Sherrard leaves behind a wife and two daughters. The family’s friends tied blue ribbons around their neighborhood and police set up an account with the Assist the Officer Foundation, to help the family through donations. “We’re just all still in disbelief. I mean, we really are,” said Casavant. “I think it hasn’t quite sunk in for a lot of us yet.”
Chief Renee Hall with the Dallas Police Department shared her prayers and condolences to the Richardson Police Department and Sherrard’s family on Thurday, in a tweet using the hashtags #RichardsonBlue and #BlueFamily. Other agencies across the DFW area also tweeted their support.
The Wylie Independent School District is sharing in the community’s grief as well. Sherrard’s two daughters are students with the district. Students and staff members have been asked to wear blue on Monday in honor of Sherrard’s service and that of all first responders.
Sherrard is the 12th law enforcement officers to die in the line of duty this year, and the fourth since this past Monday alone.
Authorities said that a disturbance call brought them to the Breckinridge Point Apartments on Wednesday night. When police officers arrived at the scene, they found 30-year-old Rene Gamez dead in the doorway of an apartment unit. Then, according to officials, suspected shooter Brandon De McCall fired at officers, striking Sherrard in the neck.
“They made entry into the apartment, immediately encountered gunfire,” explained Chief Jimmy Spivey at a news conference on Thursday. “Officer Sherrard was wounded. He fell back out of the apartment and was aided by other officers.” Gunfire was exchanged for more than four hours after McCall barricaded himself inside.
Tear gas was eventually used to bring the standoff to an end, and McCall into custody.
McCall is now in the Collin County Jail, charged with capital murder of a peace officer. His family said that he kept getting into trouble. Last year, McCall had threatend to jump off of a Dallas bridge, and told officers that he wanted doctors to put him to sleep “permanently.” He has previously faced drug charges, but none for any violent behavior.
The 26-year-old was arraigned in a Collin County courtroom on Thursday and is being held without bond.
Meanwhile, the other victim in this incident was good friends with the suspected shooter. Those who knew the men stated that Gamez had offered McCall a place to stay. “He was helping him out, letting him stay at his house,” said friend Brian Do. “I can’t think of any reason [for the shooting].”
Jennifer Perry also lives at the complex, and said that she heard yelling from his apartment unit on Wednesday night — which was unusual and had never been heard before. “He was a really nice, polite guy, quiet,” Perry explained on Thursday. “Never any problem over there.”