On Saturday July 31, 2016 at about 8:30 p.m., Terrell Police were dispatched to Arlie White Park in reference to a suspicious suspect with a shotgun. The caller reported a black male in a grey Ford Taurus with a shotgun.
As the first officer arrived in the area, a grey Ford Taurus was observed parked at Northgate and Oak Post Drive, near the park. A black male wearing a red shirt was observed in the driver’s seat and clearly appeared to be the subject of the call. As the officer approached from his vehicle, the male in the driver’s seat of the Taurus opened the door. Quick verbal commands directed the driver to raise his hands. He only raised one hand and the other was not visible to the officer. Due to the facts of the call, the officer continued to give verbal commands to show his other hand. As he did so, the subject raised what appeared to be a shotgun. The officer continued to shout commands. The officer did not overreact and eventually the subject responded to the commands and lowered the weapon back down into the floor board of the vehicle.
The officer was able to talk the man into exiting the vehicle with his hands up. Up to this point, the officer was without backup. The backup arrived just in time to assist in taking the man into police custody. There were no injuries.
The male, whose name is not being released due to privacy expectations, told officers that he had a plan to do “suicide by cop.” Secondary statements made at the scene and evidence observed at the scene, including a hand-written note, support this stated plan of suicide. The male was taken to Terrell State Hospital for evaluation. No criminal charges have been filed at this time.
The shotgun was determined to be a toy that had been modified and painted to represent a real weapon.
The officers, specifically the primary officer involved in this situation, relied on the fundamental values of self and this police agency. By applying their training, utilizing their experience, using excellent verbal skills, a potential tragedy was averted.
The Terrell Police Department, as well as the Chief of Police, is eternally grateful to this police officer for this positive outcome. The police officer involved in this incident is being recommended for official commendation. Although his actions could clearly be deemed as “just doing his job,” it is the desire of the police department to affirmatively reinforce adherence to the values of respect for human life, even in the face of substantial personal risk for doing so. The police officer involved knows all too well the threats that come with this job, as he has been shot in the line-of-duty in this city in the past.
The police officer is Officer Chris Lee, a home-grown son of Terrell.