Two Highland Park police officers shot and killed a suspect who fired on them first Tuesday night. It may have been the first fatal shooting in the history of the town’s Department of Public Safety.
According to a statement released by the department, officers responded to a 911 call at 6:25 p.m. from a motorist who was being followed by a motorcycle. A motorcycle matching the caller’s description was spotted in the parking lot of Park Cities Plaza, the shopping center on Mockingbird Lane near SMU.
When the suspect returned to his motorcycle, the officers tried to question him. He tried to get away, but they detained him after a brief chase. However, they apparently did not do a thorough-enough search.
“After the suspect was detained and placed in the back seat of the patrol car, the suspect was able to escape the handcuffs,” said the statement from Lt. Marc Rossini. “He was able to use a small firearm he still had on his person.”
Rossini’s statement said the suspect fired one shot before both officers returned fire. The suspect, whose name has not been released, was taken by ambulance to Parkland hospital. The officers were not injured.
Rossini said the last time a Highland Park officer fired a gun while in uniform was in 2006. According to a report published in Park Cities People at the time, Officer John Lee was working at the Whole Foods Market on Lomo Alto Drive on June 28. That’s when Terence Sheffield, 40, fled the store and drove out of the parking lot, dragging Lee behind him.
Lee tried to stop the car by shooting at the tires. When that didn’t work, he shot Sheffield in the chest. The car ran over Lee’s leg as it crashed onto a curb.
When asked if any previous officer-involved shootings led to fatalities, Rossini — who is filling in as spokesman for the vacationing Sgt. Lance Koppa — said, “To the best of my knowledge, we have not had a suspect shot and killed by our officers.”
University Park spokesman Steve Mace said city manager Bob Livingston remembers UP officers being fired upon during a chase about 15 years ago, but he could not recall cops shooting at anyone.