by Naheed Rajwani
FORT WORTH — Two Fort Worth police officers were injured in a shooting Friday night while responding to a suicide call. They are expected to survive.
After several hours of uncertainty, the Fort Worth Police Department confirmed that a person suspected of shooting the pair of officers was dead. While responding to a 911 call about 8:30 p.m., officers discovered an elderly man dead with gunshot wounds in a bedroom of a house in the 3800 block of Wharton Drive, police said.
They were told a witness to the shooting was in a shed in the yard and were fired upon as they opened the doors to the structure, police said.
The officers returned gunfire and took cover. SWAT officers were called in to attempt to negotiate a surrender and used tear gas to try to force the person out. It was unclear for several hours whether the shooter was dead or alive in the shed.
Police confirmed just before midnight that the person was dead. A wall of the shed was breached and officers found the body inside. While the person did have gunshot wounds, it’s unclear whether those wounds were self-inflicted or came from police gunfire. The person has not yet been identified.
The injured officers, who were both wearing protective vests, were transported to John Peter Smith hospital where they were listed in stable condition early Saturday.
Officer Xavier Serrano, an 8-year veteran of the force and field training officer, was shot several times in the upper torso, arms and shoulder, police said.
Officer Ray Azucena, a newly commissioned officer in field training, was struck once in the chest, but the bulletproof vest deflected the bullet, Povero said.
Late Friday night, Chief Joel Fitzgerald said that one officer was expected to be released shortly and that the other was recovering from surgery.
“We want to thank the thousands of people who have reached out to us with their love and support,” police said in a prepared statement. “Our officers continue to serve with honor and courage and need your prayers of protection and healing.”
911 caller reported a suicide about 8:30 p.m. A police log online indicated that the caller reported “father has been shot in the head.”
After the exchange of gunfire in the yard just about 9 p.m., residents in the far south Fort Worth neighborhood were told to evacuate as dozens of officers converged in the area, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Neighbor Debbie Sizmore was getting ready to leave for dinner with her family when they heard sirens wailing and a helicopter roaring above. Instead of getting dinner, the family gathered on the corner of Wedgeway and Woodway as SWAT vehicles moved into the area. “We didn’t know what it was at first,” Sizmore said.
“Other than our officers needed our prayers,” her husband, Steve, chimed in.
About 10:15 p.m., about eight pops, which police said were gas canisters being detonated in the shed, rang throughout the area: “Lord please keep our officers safe. Oh my god, God, please,” Sizmore pleaded when she heard the pops.
Friday’s incident comes just more than two months after the ambush that killed five police officers in downtown Dallas. Before he was killed by a police-detonated bomb, Micah Johnson, who also wounded several other officers, told police he targeted officers in retaliation for the deaths of African Americans in police-involved shootings nationwide.