DALLAS (AP) — A man who shot and critically wounded two Dallas police officers and hurt an employee at a home improvement store led law enforcement on a high-speed car chase before he was captured in a late-night arrest.
The two officers and the store loss-prevention officer underwent surgery for their injuries after the shooting Tuesday afternoon at the Home Depot store in the north of the city, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall said late Tuesday. She asked for continued prayers for their recovery.
Authorities on Wednesday identified the injured officers as Crystal Almeida and Rogelio Santander, both with the police force for three years. They are in critical condition, as is the Home Depot employee who also was shot. All three underwent surgery.
Dallas police Sgt. Michael Mata told KDFW-TV that Santander is “gravely, gravely ill” and that Almeida is “severely injured” but “fighting hard.”
“It’s going to be a tough day today,” Mata said.
Police arrested Armando Luis Juarez, 29, on charges of aggravated assault on a public servant and felony theft. He was taken into custody shortly before 10 p.m.
“We got our man,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at the late-night news conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
But relatives of Juarez said they couldn’t believe he would be involved in such a violent episode.
“There’s no way my son could’ve done this,” Ruben Juarez told The Dallas Morning News, adding that he didn’t think his son owned any guns.
Armando Juarez’s grandmother, Janie Longoria, told reporters Tuesday that her grandson is a “sweet, lovable person,” but that his friends are a bad influence.
“And I told him to stay away from those people,” she said.
Police were called to the store to help an off-duty police officer to remove Juarez from the store. Police have not said if he was suspected of shoplifting or why he was being ejected from store. Juarez opened fire as he was being escorted from the store and made his escape. Several law enforcement agencies were involved in the pursuit that led to his eventual arrest.
Rawlings said he remains “upset at the lack of respect for our police in this city and in our country.”
In 2016, four Dallas police officers and a transit officer were shot dead by a sniper in an ambush that came toward the end of a peaceful protest over the police killings of black men in other cities.
Juarez was arrested in January on a charge of unlawful use of a motor vehicle after authorities say he was found in a stolen vehicle. He also pleaded guilty to a drug-possession charge.
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