Dallas Police Officer Shot, Killed in Line of Duty

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    NEWSLETTERS

    KXAS
    Flowers cover Sr. Cpl. Norman Smith's cruiser outside Dallas Police headquarters.

    A veteran police officer was shot and killed Tuesday night when he and other officers tried to arrest a man on felony charges in Oak Cliff.

    The flags at Dallas City Hall flew at half staff Wednesday in memory of Senior Cpl. Norman Smith.

    Smith was shot at the Oak Wood Place Apartments in the 4900 block of Wadsworth Drive just after 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Police said about five to six officers with the gang unit were at the apartment complex serving a felony warrant for aggravated assault.

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    "They went to the front door, knocked on it and were met with gunfire," Lt. Andrew Harvey said.

    Police did not announce who they were before they attempted to serve the warrant, Dallas police Chief David Kunkle said. It was a method "to get suspects to come to the door without announcing they were police officers," he said.

    Someone in the apartment called 911 about the time Smith was knocking on the door and reported there were intruders outside, police said. The caller told the dispatcher that two men had tried to kick in his door and had shot at him.

    Police said the men knew officers were at the door and were just buying time to flush drugs down the toilet.

    "They were clearly identified as Dallas police officers, because there were wearing official Dallas police uniforms with a badge, a patch and everything else that we have as on our uniform," Harvey said.

    Sgt. Gil Cerda said Smith was shot in the face. Smith was transported to Baylor Medical Center, where he later died, Kunkle said.

    A SWAT team cleared the apartment. Residents of nearby units were evacuated for several hours.

    "It's dangerous out here," resident Maelaene Daniels said. "I don't like this."

    She said her heart and prayers went out to the officer's family.

    Kunkle said Wednesday would have marked Smith's 18th year on the Dallas force. He was with the gang unit for 14 years.

    His wife, Lt. Regina Smith, is also a Dallas police officer and works in Kunkle's office.

    "She is devastated, and I don't know if it would hurt worse if it was one of my family members," Kunkle said.

    He said the couple met while doing what they love.

    "They met when she was a young police officer," he said. "And Regina's a striking, beautiful woman; she's very beautiful, and was making an arrest in the county jail. And Norm was working there and came up to her and said, 'You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen.' And they had a love affair that started that day and never ended."

    The couple have two children.

    Police took three men into custody for questioning.

    Charles Patrick Payne, 26, faces three charges, including capital murder of a public servant in the shooting of Smith. He was taken to jail and arraigned Wednesday morning. Payne is being held without bond.

    William LaPaul, 29, was being held on an outstanding felony warrant from the Arlington Police Department.

    Police said the third person was questioned and released.

    Smith is the 79th Dallas officer killed in the line of duty. His death is believed to be the nation's first fatal shooting of an officer in the line of duty this year. Texas led the nation in law enforcement fatalities last year, with 14, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund and another group, Concerns of Police Survivors.

    Smith was well-known throughout the department and in the community, Kunkle said.

    "Norm was doing exactly what he wanted to do," Kunkle said. "He was a great, great street officer, and he had the heart of a warrior."

    The U.S. Honor Flag, which has traveled  to police departments across the country to honor fallen officers, will arrive at Dallas police headquarters on Thursday morning.

    A candlelight vigil for Smith will be held on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at police headquarters at 1400 S. Lamar St.

    There will be open visitation at Restland Cemetery at 9220 Restland Road in Dallas from noon to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

    Funeral services will be held at The Potter's House at 6777 W. Kiest Blvd. in Dallas at 11 a.m. Friday. The burial service will follow at the Garden of Honor, Restland Memorial Cemetery.