One of the busiest retail weekends of the year ended abruptly for shoppers after a theft suspect was shot by police in the middle of The Parks Mall at Arlington. When officers arrived, Lt. Christopher Cook said Monday, Dodd ran, and officers pursued him on both the upper and lower levels of the mall. Waiting on the second floor was another Arlington officer, however.
He pulled out what police said was later found to be an fake gun, pointing it at the police officer on the first floor.
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Cook said authorities have learned Dodd is a known criminal offender and a convicted felon.
Investigators say William Paul Dodd, 21, was a shoplifting suspect and pulled out what looked like a semi-automatic handgun Sunday evening and pointed it at an officer who was following him.
The officer who shot Dodd did not know about the earlier incidents at the time of the shooting, Cook said. No civilians were injured.
"He committed a traffic violation and a officer in our south unit attempted to make a traffic stop for that traffic violation and he took off", said Cook. Dodd took off, Cook said, and officers elected not to give chase given the time of day and the fact that roads were crowded with holiday weekend drivers.
A hour and 20 minutes later, at the mall, Dodd tried to flee from security.
"In the call, Mr. Dodd claimed that he was a suspect in an evading arrest call", he said. He sounded incoherent and reiterated he would shoot police, according to an audio recording of the call. "So we sent officers to Stovall Park".
Dodd called 911 Sunday around 3 p.m. while police were working to find him, Cook said. He did note that Dodd had been charged with filing a false police report in September after reporting to police he had been shot in a drive-by shooting. "It's believed that's the result of that shooting", Cook said.
The Arlington Voice reached out to the Tarrant County District Attorney's office to learn more about the felony charge Dodd previously faced, but had not heard back by the publishing of this report. The same post reported one person the police referred to as a suspect was involved in the shooting.
"We've had a lot of news releases highlighting the dangers with replica, imitation guns", Cook said. "There's no way an officer or even a citizen could distinguish between the two".