Officer-Involved Shooting in Cedar Hill After Man Sets Himself on Fire

Three officers were burned with the suspect; one officer was airlifted to Parkland Hospital

Surveillance video released Thursday shows how neighbors rushed to help a Cedar Hill Police officer who was set on fire by a suspect.

The suspect, armed with a bottle of flammable liquid, set himself ablaze Wednesday and burned three officers before an officer shot the suspect at a suburban Dallas shopping strip, police said.

Dallas County Sheriff's Deputies investigating the incident refused to release the suspect's name Thursday claiming security concerns.

The man was suspected in a nearby burglary when officers pursued him into the Wingstop restaurant at US 67 and Belt Line Road in Cedar Hill and tried to subdue him about 3 p.m. Wednesday, Cedar Hill Police Lt. Charles Reiss said.

The surveillance video was shot from inside a MetroPCS store beside the Wing Stop restaurant.

Witnesses said Officer Ann McSwain carried a stun gun as the man yelled, "I have gas. I have gasoline. I'm gonna catch myself on fire."

The suspect, who reeked of gasoline and was holding a bottle of flammable liquid, set himself and the female officer on fire, Reiss said.

"His shirt was on fire when he came out of Wingstop," said witness Robert Gonzales. "As soon as he hit that door it was boom, his whole body went on fire."

Officer McSwain also ran into the lot, fully ablaze, Gonzales said, so he and witness Spencer Stroud tried to smother the flames.

"She's screaming, slapping her face. That's when we run over there. I take off my shirt. I start putting her face out, her chest, and her arm," Stroud said. "The back of her head and her arm is what I was worried about. Like I said I just hope she's gonna be okay."

Stroud said the suspect continued to pour liquid from the bottle on himself.

The other officers chased the blazing suspect and tried to smother his flames, before one officer finally shot the man, Brown said. Aside from the bottle, a yellow lighter was found at the scene, Cedar Hill city spokesman Corky Brown said.

Officer McSwain was airlifted with serious burns to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, according to Brown. Detective Mike Hernandez and Detective Brandon Woodall were treated for burns and released from Parkland Hospital Wednesday night. The suspect was in surgery late Wednesday night, Brown said.

Cedar Hill Police Chief Steve Rhodes released a statement on Thursday about Officer McSwain's condition and Stroud’s heroism:

"Officer McSwain will require additional medical treatment in the form of surgery to address her burn injuries sustained while trying to apprehend the suspect. We want to express our sincere thanks to the young man (Spencer Stroud) that rendered aid to Officer McSwain until the paramedics arrived yesterday afternoon. His act of kindness and caring will not be forgotten by the officers of the Cedar Hill Police Department or our community."

Stroud said Cedar Hill Police deserve credit for stopping the suspect.

"Everybody’s calling me a hero, I appreciate that. I was just in the right place at the right time," he said.

NBC 5's Ken Kalthoff, Ben Russell and Johnny Archer contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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