DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There has been a steady flow of people stopping by the Northeast Patrol Division of the Dallas Police Department to honor fallen Officer Rogelio Santander. The 3-year DPD veteran died Wednesday, less than 24 hours after being shot in the line of duty.
There is a mix of hope and heartache for officers and DPD staff… hope that the other injured officer, Crystal Almeida, will fully recover and heartache that one of their own has lost his life.
A special mass was held Wednesday night at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. A bell at the church tolled 27 times… once for each year of Officer Santander’s life. Colleagues, friends and family filled the pews as a special prayer was said for the fallen officer.
At Northeast Patrol dozens of citizens have taken time to leave flowers and cards. Mother Christine Smith went to the station with her young daughter. “Ever since I heard about it I’ve been really emotional. The sacrifices that these people make on a daily basis are incredible,” she said. “We just wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to show Sloan [her daughter] they deserve our respect and anything we can provide for them.”
Dallas police Officer Almeida and Home Depot loss prevention officer Scott Painter were also shot. As of the last update both remain in critical condition at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital.
The shooting happened Tuesday after Mr. Painter got assistance from an off-duty Dallas police officer checking into a suspicious person – shooter Armando Luis Juarez — in the Home Depot store near U.S. Highway 75 and Forest Lane.
According to Juarez’s arrest warrant, the off-duty officer ran a check on Juarez and discovered he has an outstanding felony warrant. The off-duty officer called for assistance from on-duty police and Officers Santander and Almeida responded.
CBS 11 News sources say Juarez was not handcuffed and after being told he was going to jail, pulled a gun and shot the police officers and Mr. Painter.
A charge of Aggravated Assault in Retaliation has been added to the Capital Murder and Aggravated Assault on a Public Servant charges against Juarez. He remains in the Dallas County Jail with his bond amount now increased to more than $2 million.
So far this year there had been 24 police officers shot and killed in the line of duty. Officer Santander’s death brings that number to 25.
Tonight’s candlelight vigil for Officer Rogelio Santander, Badge #10934, will be held at the Northeast Patrol Station at 9915 East Northwest Highway. The event is open to the public and doors will open to citizens at 6:30 p.m. The program is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.