FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A heartbroken community is mourning the loss of a Fort Worth officer who died Friday evening after he was shot by a robbery suspect that morning.
Officer Garrett Hull is being remembered as the glue that held the criminal intel unit together at the Fort Worth Police Department. Fellow officers and community members gathered at a memorial at the police headquarters to leave heartfelt messages.
Officer Hull was shot in the head during a sting operation. The undercover officers tracked suspected robbers to a small bar on Fort Worth’s south side early Friday morning.
The officers watched the group of suspects go inside the bar, where witnesses said they robbed as many as 10 people at gunpoint. When the officers moved in to confront them, the suspects opened fire. Hull was struck as shots rang out.
Fellow officers loaded Hull into a squad car and rushed him to the hospital where he remained in the ICU through the day.
Back at the bar, officers had fired back and fatally shot the suspected gunman, 23-year-old Dacion Steptoe.
The 17-year veteran of the Fort Worth Police Department died from his injuries at around 9:40 p.m. Friday, the police chief announced at a midnight press conference.
“I regret that I have to speak to you all this evening,” began Fitzgerald. “I am even more dismayed by the fact that I have to announce that at 21:40 hours Police Officer Garrett Hull passed away. We’ve lost a true hero; someone who has dedicated more than one tour of service to this great city and was senselessly killed by three known criminals — two of which are in custody now.”
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald along with Mayor Betsy Price and fellow officers announced Hull’s passing just after midnight Saturday morning.
“There’s not a dry eye in this house,” Fitzgerald said. “Our whole department is hurting right now… a situation like this is something that’s going to galvanize this police department; galvanize the city.”
The police chief also said Hull’s legacy will continue to live on for generations because he is an organ donor.
“Police officer Hull is an organ donor and will be able to prolong the life of others… over the next few days… as candidates are matched up with him, we will see him prolong the lives of other folks… because of the sacrifice he made,” Fitzgerald said.
A prayer vigil was held at the memorial at the police headquarters to remember the fallen officer.
“Officer Hull was an unbelievable individual. A veteran officer. He paid the ultimate price protecting citizens of this city,” said Assistant Chief Charles Ramirez at the prayer.
Hull leaves behind a wife and two daughters.