DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas police officer has died less than 24 hours after being shot at a North Dallas Home Depot store. Another officer and a store employee, who were also both shot, remain hospitalized.
Officer Rogelio Santander died at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital at 8:11 a.m. Wednesday.
Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall held a press conference outside the hospital this morning. When CBS 11 News reporter Robbie Owens offered sympathies the Chief said, “We appreciate it” and then made the announcement.
“We come before you this morning with broken hearts and we regret to inform you that Officer Rogelio Santander, Badge 10934, has succumbed to his injuries,” she said. “We’re asking you to continue to pray for the [Santander] family and the DPD family.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also announced Officer Santander’s death during a regularly scheduled city council meeting. Interrupting the meeting, which was already in progress, he said, “It is with great sadness that we must inform you that Officer Rogelio Santander, Badge #934, passed away at 8:11 this morning.”
Along with Officer Santander, Officer Crystal Almeida and the Home Depot security guard, now identified as Scott Painter, all underwent surgery after the shooting. Officer Almeida and Mr. Painter both remain hospitalized.
During the press conference Chief Hall said, “We are happy to report that Officer Crystal Almeida and our loss-prevention officer Scott Painter is making remarkable recovery. They are still in critical condition but we are optimistic about what we’re seeing with them right now.”
The man who police say shot the officers and the security guard – Armando Luis Juarez – woke up behind bars today. After the shooting, a manhunt, and late night police chase, Juarez was taken into custody and ultimately transferred to the Dallas County Jail very early Wednesday morning.
Officers Santander and Almeida both joined the Dallas Police Department there years ago, assigned to the Northeast Division.
A source close to the investigation told CBS 11 News reporter J.D. Miles that Officer Santander was shot in the back of the head and Officer Almeida was shot in the face.
Wednesday morning Dallas police Sergeant Michael Mata, who is also president of the Dallas Police Association, said, “When an officer is shot or killed or injured in one city, it affects every officer across the country. We are one huge family.”
The shooting happened just after 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Home Depot store in the 11600 block of Forest Central Drive, near U.S. Highway 75 and Forest Lane, after the two police officers were called to help an off-duty officer.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Dallas police Officer Seward was working off-duty at the store when Mr. Painter alerted him that a male customer was acting suspiciously in the store. Officer Seward detained the person, identified him as Armando Juarez, and discovered a felony warrant had been issued for him.
Officer Seward had called on-duty police officers to the scene and Officers Santander and Almeida responded. All of the police officers met in the store’s loss-prevention office and then Officer Seward then went to Officer Santander and Almeida’s squad car to look up the felony warrant for Juarez and confirm that was the person being detained inside.
The affidavit details how Officer Seward was returning to the building when he heard a “shots fired” broadcast over his police radio, proceeded inside and found Officers Santander and Almeida and Mr. Painter all on the floor of the loss-prevention office “with apparent gunshot wounds.”
Police say there was a witness inside the office who said he saw Juarez shoot all three people.
Immediately after the shooting armed officers were seen in back of the Home Depot as employees and customers rushed out of the store and away from the area.
A massive search for the suspect — including police helicopters and officers on the ground — followed after witnesses reported the shooter had fled on foot and may be hiding in a nearby creek. But when police reviewed security camera video they discovered Juarez fled from the scene in a white-colored work truck. It was then police put out a description of the truck — that had “GX4” on the back fender, a ladder rack, and large exhaust pipes rising from the front — and issued a be on the lookout (BOLO) alert.
Police later spotted the truck, with Juarez and a female passenger inside, in Southeast Dallas and gave chase. Officers were ultimately able to corner Juarez in a residential neighborhood near Dallas Love Field Airport and took the 29-year-old man into custody. The unidentified woman was also detained. It isn’t know if she is facing any charges.
“We got our man,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at a late-night news conference.
Moments after Juarez was taken into custody, Chief Hall thanked the officers on a radio call.
“Base to all units: Excellent work, excellent work. Thank everybody for their diligence in this matter. Appreciate you so very much and we’re still praying for our brother and sister,” she said.
A number of officers continue to hold vigil at Presbyterian Dallas hospital. “Most of the family that is coming is already here,” Mata said. “Obviously, they’re holding on the best they can. This [being shot] is something I think all [police] families realize they could be facing. But when it happens, you never want it to be you.”
At the time of his arrest Juarez had an outstanding warrant for Felony Theft. With the death of Officer Santander, Juarez has now been charged with Capital Murder in addition to the charge of Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant for the shooting of Officer Almeida. He remains in jail on a $1.1 million bond.