Arlington, TX - An Arlington police officer was forced to shoot a thief in front of hundreds of horrified shoppers on Sunday.
The incident happened at around 4:21 p.m. at the Parks Mall in Arlington when two officers responded to a theft of two pairs of sunglasses at the Sunglass Hut.
Mall security followed the suspect while one officer responded on the upper deck of the mall and one responded on the lower deck.
The suspect fled from security onto an escalator. While on the escalator, he pulled a replica firearm from his waistband and pointed it at the officer on the lower deck.
The officer brought a real gun to the gunfight, and opened fire on the suspect, striking him.
The suspect was transported to the hospital in critical condition. No officers were injured.
Arlington Police Department said that in order to combat the reckless false narratives about the shooting on social media, they were releasing images of surveillance footage which shows the suspect pointing the gun at the officer, and a picture of the replica gun which shows that it would have been indistinguishable from a real firearm.
Video of the aftermath of the shooting was posted to social media.
Lieutenant Christopher Cook told KXAS, "This happened when the mall was extremely busy, there were a lot of bystanders. You saw a lot of people that were upset, crying, kids misplaced from their parents, people sheltering in place, because you don't know nowadays."
Chief Will Johnson warned people on Twitter about criminals using imitation firearms.
"Replica imitation firearms/BB guns have no place in society when used in criminal endeavors." Chief Johnson said. "There is no training that would allow officers to distinguish between what’s real & what’s fake in a matter of seconds. We will continue focusing efforts on new legislation."