An Arlington police officer shot a suspected shoplifter who pulled out a BB gun and pointed it at the officer near a crowded mall food court Sunday afternoon.
Arlington police said the shooting happened inside the The Parks Mall, located at Interstate 20 and Cooper Street, at about 4:30 p.m. They said one of their officers was on-duty at the mall when a theft was reported at the Sunglass Hut.
Arlington Police Department spokesman Lt. Christopher Cook said the suspected thief, identified Monday as 21-year-old William Paul Dodd, ran away from the officer toward the upper-level of the food court and pointed what appeared to be a handgun at the officer.
Cook said the officer fired multiple times, striking Dodd. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he is in critical condition.
"This happened when the mall was extremely busy, there were a lot of bystanders," Cook said. "But luckily no one else was injured in this incident."
Late Sunday night, Arlington police released surveillance photos from inside the mall showing Dodd pointing the weapon at the officer while standing on the escalator. The department also released a photo of the weapon they said caused the officer to shoot Dodd.
Theft Suspect in Mall Shooting Known to Arlington Police
Arlington police said Dodd is a known offender in Arlington and a convicted felon. Officials prior to Sunday's shooting, Dodd called 911 at 3:11 p.m. and said he was involved in a chase with police on Friday and that he knew Arlington police were looking for him but that he had a weapon and would shoot if they attempted to pull him over.
"I know Arlington is looking for me but I got a gun so if you pull me over, I’m going to shoot, so just be ready," Dodd said in the 911 call.
Before hanging up Dodd said the he was at Stovall Park in South Arlington; police noted Dodd sounded incoherent in the call.
Emergency 911 operators called Dodd back after he hung up and he again said that he had a gun and would shoot officers if they approached him. Meanwhile, the dispatcher tried to get Dodd to reveal more details about his location so that officers could take him into custody on an outstanding warrant for making a false report to a police officer; Dodd told police on Sept. 23 he'd been injured in a drive-by shooting.
After searching the park with no luck, officers cleared the call at 4 p.m.
The shooting at the mall took place about a half-hour later.
"The department determined that Dodd is also a suspect that evaded officers in a vehicle on Friday, November 24, 2017 around 2:10 p.m. A uniformed officer attempted to stop Dodd for a traffic violation near Bowen and Sublett but he took off. The vehicle pursuit was terminated and the case remains under investigation," police said in a statement.
According to two sources familiar with the investigation, Dodd may have been angry or despondent after two friends were killed in separate incidents with police recently.
One longtime friend was shot to death by an Arlington SWAT team during a drug raid Halloween night.
About a week later, a second friend died from suicide at the end of a police chase.
Arlington police said fingerprint indentification returned Monday revealed Dodd's true identity and that police are working with the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney's Offcie to file the appropriate charges.