After officers repeatedly asked a man suspected of capital murder to open a far northeast Dallas apartment, more than 15 rounds of gunfire erupted through the door, aided by a small illegal device that converts ordinary pistols into dangerous machine guns, Chief Eddie García said Monday.
Body camera footage released by Dallas police at a news conference shows U.S. marshal task force members fire back at Jordan Owens, 20, then quickly retreat as an officer groans, “I think I’ve been hit.”
The Thursday morning shooting occurred as the task force — made up of Dallas police, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Service — tried to arrest Owens at the complex in the 9900 block of Adleta Boulevard in connection with the Oct. 16 fatal shooting of Chiquavion Ross, 23, in far northeast Dallas. Owens’ alleged involvement was unclear; the chief said two others still outstanding are also suspected in the killing.
After Owens opened fire last week, Dallas police Senior Cpl. Edgar Morales was shot in the calf and fired back, García said. Owens then refused to surrender and threw items out of the apartment window before officers later detained him, the chief said.
Morales was treated and released from a hospital. Owens was listed in stable condition at a hospital, García said. He’s expected to face three aggravated assault of a public servant charges in addition to the count of capital murder, the chief said.
“We’re fortunate our officers are alive today,” García said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to take a step back and be grateful that we did not lose an officer, be grateful that those officers did an amazing job and stayed in the fight. But then also look at our tactics as to how we can make it safer for everybody involved.”
Before the gunfire, officers knocked and announced themselves about 6 a.m., asking Owens to open the door at least eight times over about three minutes, footage shows. Met with silence, task force members cut open the door and kick it open. A barrage of gunshots ring out, and a figure in the apartment appears to rush to the side of a room.
Officers run down stairwells and to a parking lot outside the complex. “He’s got a gun!” one yells in the footage.
While Owens was still in his apartment, a second exchange of gunfire broke out. Senior Cpls. Barrett Nelson and Kurt Hibbets fired at Owens, García said, adding that Owens fired six additional rounds after the initial barrage.
In the footage, Hibbets appears to fire once while in the parking lot behind a squad car. He says he saw Owens “on the deck” and “I shot but I think I missed.” “Somebody in the window!” he yells a moment later.
The video cuts to footage of Nelson appearing to kneel on the ground between two cars. Three gunshots ring out, and moments later he appears to fire another volley up toward the top of a building.
Two witnesses were inside the apartment during the standoff, the chief said. One woman called 911 and reported their home was surrounded by officers as a man inside fired at police, according to audio released by Dallas police.
“I don’t want the police to shoot back. We’re innocent,” a woman says. “We’re not trying to get hurt or anything.”
The 911 call taker questions the witnesses as the woman reports they’re afraid of officers returning fire and they’re hiding in a closet. Another person with her says the shooter’s name is “Jordan.”
“Oh my God, they’re shooting, they’re shooting, they’re shooting,” the woman says.
The footage released by police shows officers yelling that two witnesses are leaving the apartment. The video then cuts to task force members standing outside the apartment, with one shining a flashlight inside.
“You’re hit?” one officer asks, and a man murmurs back from inside the apartment. “Just keep controlling your breathing,” an officer says.
Officers enter and search the apartment as a man appears to groan in pain on the ground.
No other civilians or officers were injured in the gunfire, the chief said.
García said the handgun Owens used was modified with a Glock switch, a small and inexpensive converter device on the rise locally. The tools have been classified as machine guns under federal law and are illegal to possess. The chief has previously called the device one of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement.
“These tactics aren’t a choreographed dance,” García said. “There’s a lot of us who have served those same type of warrants before, so I can totally understand what went through those officers’ minds. ... For them to stand there in the face of evil like that, I’m proud of them for what they did.”
The shooting was the 11th involving a Dallas police officer this year, the chief said. The Dallas County district attorney’s office is investigating, which is customary when officers fire their weapons.