Dallas police and the FBI are investigating the fatal shooting of a security guard who was shot and killed during an apparent robbery outside a credit union in Cockrell Hill Monday morning.
Police said witnesses told them a security officer was servicing an ATM outside the Neighborhood Credit Union at 1515 N. Cockrell Hill Road when he was approached by a man with a rifle at about 8:50 a.m. who police said "demanded property."
The armed man then shot the security guard, identified as 28-year-old Jose Montes, at least one time.
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"A big pop, kind of like a firecracker," is how a woman who works in the shopping center described the sound of the gunfire.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she was getting ready to open up the store at which she works when she heard the gunshot.
“I looked out the window to see what was going on. I saw an individual on his knees with his hands up and his head down and then I saw another individual laying on the ground," the woman said. "I saw a guy backing away from the armored vehicle and into a four-door sedan."
She said she called 911 and she and others tried to help Montes.
“We were just trying to as best we could to render aid, and make sure he was as comfortable as possible," the woman who worked in the shopping center said. "One of the girls from the dentist's office offered some smelling salt to help keep him conscious. I was still on the phone with 911 operator asking if there's anything I can do, try to keep everyone back, make sure they had enough room to work.“
According to Dallas police Sgt. Warren Mitchell, officers arrived to find a man wearing a security officer's uniform on the ground suffering from an apparent gunshot wound.
Montes was taken to a nearby hospital where he later died.
"I am shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of an innocent man's life this morning and I am praying for his family. Our team is doing everything we can to assist law enforcement in identifying the shooter." Chet Kimmell, CEO of Neighborhood Credit Union.
A second security officer at the scene was not injured.
Mitchell said after the shooting the armed robber was seen loading a duffel bag into a sedan being driven by a woman. Police did not say how much money was believed to be in the bags.
"I didn’t see the driver, I did see the individual get into the car, throw the bag and get into the back of the car and drove off," the witness said.
Others who work in the shopping strip said they’re on alert. NBC 5 is told discussions were underway about having more deterrents in the area.
"We work here every day. We get out late. This happened during the daytime, imagine what could happen at night time," Aime Alvarez said. "At least a security guard because there are no cameras in the parking lot."
A description of the shooter, who remains at large, was not provided by police Monday.
From Texas Sky Ranger it appeared the investigation was centered around an armored van parked in front of the credit union. According to branding on the van, the servicing company is Touch Point 21, a Garland-based company providing "ATM, armored car, and cash automation services and solutions to banks and credit unions throughout Texas and Oklahoma."
Investigators with the Dallas FBI and Dallas police were seen examing the van for clues and gathering other evidence in the area.
On their website, the Neighborhood Credit Union said their branch, which did not have a night drop or a drive-through, was temporarily closed since March due to COVID-19.
"I am shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of an innocent man’s life this morning and I am praying for his family. Our team is doing everything we can to assist law enforcement in identifying the shooter," Chet Kimmell, Neighborhood Credit Union president and CEO said in a statement.
"With everything that’s going on now, it just puts another damper on my faith in humanity. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of your surroundings. I’m shaken, to say the least," the woman who worked nearby said.
She and others who work in the shopping center said crime has been an issue for months. According to Dallas police reports, several businesses have been broken into multiple times.
"This was an armed robbery, the others have occurred at night, so a little freaky when it happens next door yeah," said Michael Guernsey who works in the shopping center. "It makes us feel a little vulnerable, we have security cameras here, but we know there have been there’s been a few incidents in the area and it unsettling for sure.”