Fort Worth, TX – A Fort Worth police officer is in critical condition, after being shot in the forehead by a suspect as he intervened in a burglary-in-progress.
Fort Worth Police Officer Garrett Hull is “in the fight of his life,” Mayor Betsy Price said during a press conference early Friday morning.
The incident began at approximately midnight, while undercover Officer Hull was conducting surveillance on a group of three robbery suspects, WFAA reported.
The crew he was watching went inside the Vaquero Sports Bar in the Worth Heights area of the city, and proceeded to rob the patrons.
According to a witness, the trio stormed into the establishment wearing masks and brandishing guns.
They ordered everyone to hit the floor, then took the customers’ cellphones and wallets.
The suspects were fleeing the scene when uniformed and undercover officers confronted them.
One of the suspects spun around and fired his weapon, hitting Officer Hull.
“In their attempt to try to apprehend the three people that were robbing the bar, one of the people exchanged gunfire with my officers and that gunfire struck one of the officers in his forehead,” Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said during the press conference.
Another officer at the scene returned fire, and fatally shot the assailant who fired the round that hit Officer Hull.
Police arrested two other suspects – one male and one female.
Officer Hull, a 17-year veteran of the force, was rushed to John Peter Smith Hospital in a fellow officer’s patrol vehicle.
“In the midst of it… the officers involved in the active scene actually extricated the officer who was struck in the head and got him here to JPS Hospital,” Chief Fitzgerald said.
No one inside the bar was injured during the shootout, the chief said.
“Our Officer who was shot is currently in ICU in critical condition,” the Fort Worth Police Department tweeted in the early morning hours. “He has family and fellow Officers with him.”
“Our Officer is courageously fighting at this time,” the agency said. “We ask that you keep his recovery in your thoughts.”
During the press conference, Chief Fitzgerald said the crew was responsible for “numerous armed robberies” in the area, and that three other people had also been shot during the commission of their earlier offenses.
“Unfortunately, here we are again… Feeding into the collective hurt we’ve had recently in the last few years,” Chief Fitzgerald said. “I feel like I stand up here far too often and speak about… officers being assaulted, and officers doing their job to try to create this safe sense of community and cooperation and collaboration in the city of Fort Worth, and being victims of violent acts.”
Chief Fitzgerald commended the officers who intervened in the robbery, and said the police force will continue to stand up to those who victimize the community.
“I’m proud of them,” he said, calling his officers “heroes.”
Hundreds of officers from throughout the region are waiting at the hospital in support of Officer Hull and his family, the chief said.
“It’s not a fair tradeoff. It’s not a fair tradeoff at all. We have an officer fighting for his life right now for some guys that thought it was easy to go out and rob stores here in the city of Fort Worth and the North Texas region,” Chief Fitzgerald said.
“I thank all the law enforcement out here and the great response we’re getting tell them that this isn’t what happens here. We’re not gonna allow that kind of behavior,” the chief added.