Fort Worth

Fort Worth Officer Wounded in Shootout Released from Hospital

Fort Worth police officer Xavier Serrano was released from the hospital Wednesday morning, about five days after he and a fellow officer were shot Friday night.

Police said Serrano was struck multiple times in the upper body during the shooting. At least one round was absorbed by his ballistic body armor, police said.

Serrano was released from John Peter Smith Hospital just after 9 a.m.

Fort Worth police officer Xavier Serrano is released from the hospital Wednesday morning, days after he and a fellow officer were shot Friday night.

The wounded officer's wife, Carolyn, read a statement outside the hospital before leaving with her husband.

The wife of a Fort Worth police officer wounded in a shootout Friday makes a statement outside John Peter Smith Hospital after her husband’s release.

Rookie Officer Ray Azucena suffered a minor injury when he was shot in his bullet-proof vest. Azucena, who graduated from the Fort Worth Police Academy in July, was treated and released late Friday at JPS Hospital.

The Fort Worth Police Department thanked the public for praying for the two officers who were wounded while responding to a suicide call at a home on Wharton Drive in south Fort Worth.

Fort Worth police officer Matt Pearce, who was wounded during a shooting earlier this year, shows support for officer Xavier Serrano, wounded in a shootout Friday.

Police said Tuesday the officers were dispatched at 8:32 p.m. to a call about a possible shooting at the home. When they arrived, they met with Veneda Fleece who told them her 81-year-old husband, Carl Fleece, was in a room near the rear of the house and had been shot in the head, police said.

The couple's son, Vincent Fleece, said he heard two gunshots after his brother, 55-year-old Martin Fleece, walked into the room where his father was. Martin Fleece then walked back into the living room and told them their father had committed suicide. Martin Fleece then left the house, went to the backyard and entered a converted shed where he lived, according to a police press release.

Vincent Fleece called 911 to report what he thought was a suicide.

The officers investigating the shooting went to the shed to speak with Martin Fleece. The officers identified themselves as police and tried to enter the shed, but police said they were met with gunfire from inside.

Serrano, along with Sgt. Steve Fineman and Officer Cliff Snodderly, returned fire into the shed before Snodderly and Officer Azucena dragged the wounded Serrano to safety.

Azucena realized that he, too, had been shot, when he saw a bullet hole in his uniform. Serrano and Azucena were both transported to JPS Hospital for treatment.

SWAT officers established a perimeter around the house and fired gas canisters into the shed to contact Martin Fleece.

When there was no response, a SWAT vehicle knocked down a wall in the shed. Officers saw Martin Fleece was deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head from a .45 caliber pistol.

No rounds from police firearms struck Martin Fleece, police said.

Serrano underwent surgery to repair injuries from being shot in his left arm, left hand and the left upper torso, police said.

MedStar responders Tyler Morris and Nate Preissinger played a critical role in saving Officer Serrano's life. They said it was a fairly routine call until the gunfire started.

"You're running on adrenaline at that point. Everything is focused in. Everything seems clearer. Everything seems louder," said Preissinger, an EMT.

"We pulled up, we immediately met, and got his vest, his gun belt off and got him onto the cot and into the truck. And we were on the way to the hospital within a minute-and-a-half of the time he was shot," said Morris, a paramedic.

Morris and Preissinger were able to see Serrano shortly after he came out of surgery. They said seeing the relief on the faces of Serrano's family members made everything they did that night worthwhile.

MedStar paramedic Tyler Morris and EMT Nate Preissinger discuss the release of Fort Worth police officer Xavier Serrano, who was wounded in a shootout Friday.
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