Weatherford Democrat

Local News

July 20, 2012

Man could face attempted murder charge following chase

PARKER COUNTY — A man arrested in Parker County Wednesday night after a high speed pursuit from Haltom City could face an attempted capital murder charge, authorities say.

Azle police believe the suspect, whose name was not released Thursday afternoon, repeatedly fired a shotgun at an Azle police officer during an earlier pursuit Tuesday morning, Lt. Lee Blaisdell said. In addition to numerous charges being pursued by various other police departments in Tarrant County, Azle police will be seeking an attempted capital murder warrant against the man.

It all began Tuesday around 7:40 a.m., when an Azle police officer ran a license plate of a 2001 silver Jeep Cherokee and it returned a regional indicator showing possible multiple misdemeanor warrants out of Blue Mound and Fort Worth, Blaisdell said. As they were traveling eastbound on State Highway 199, the officer attempted to initiate a traffic stop but the vehicle never stopped, according to Blaisdell.

The officer noticed the male passenger pick up what he described as a shotgun and point it out the back window, Blaisdell said. The officer then took evasive action, driving onto the shoulder and slowing down to put a distance between the two vehicles, and initiated a pursuit.

During the pursuit, the suspect leaned out the passenger window waving a gun and fired it at the patrol unit, Blaisdell said. As they neared Lake Worth, the suspect also reportedly shot at a passing motorist before crossing a grassy median and eluding authorities near Azle Avenue and Highway 199.

It appears because of the distance between the officer and the suspect’s vehicle, the officer was not injured and the Azle police vehicle did not suffer any damage, according to Blaisdell.

Fort Worth police were reportedly investigating the deadly conduct case involving the motorist and had recovered a spent shell casing as that occurred in their jurisdiction.  

Lake Worth police were also reportedly investigating a hit-and-run case when the vehicle struck another vehicle in Lake Worth causing substantial damage and the vehicle to be inoperable.

With the license plate number and the registered owner information, Azle investigators were able to make a tentative identification of both the man and the female driver, according to Blaisdell. They then alerted Haltom City police, who said they were familiar with the two and the vehicle.

Blaisdell said he got a call roughly around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday that Haltom City had located the suspects and were running surveillance on a residence.

As detectives were preparing to head to Haltom City, the suspects reportedly got in their car and attempted to drive away when Haltom City police tried to make a traffic stop.

However, the two reportedly fled again.

The pursuit Wednesday night arrived right back in Azle, where witnesses reported seeing about 10 law enforcement vehicles from various agencies, along with a helicopter, following the Jeep Cherokee.

The high speed pursuit was well over the posted speed limit, reaching speeds somewhere between 70 and 100 mph, according to Haltom City Police Cpl. Joe Hackfeld.

During the chase, the Jeep drove through a parking lot in the Azle area and backed into a Haltom City vehicle that ended up behind the Jeep, according to Hackfeld. They intend to charge the two with evading arrest with a vehicle, as well as aggravated assualt with a deadly weapon or criminal mischief for the damage done to the patrol car.

The pursuit ended when the Jeep drove into the Tanglewood addition just west of Azle in Parker County, according to Blaisdell.

The vehicle spun out and the two attempted to flee on foot but were quickly apprehended, according to Hackfeld.

The names of the two suspects were not released Thursday afternoon as they had not been arraigned.

Detectives were doing interviews as the investigation continued Thursday.

“We’re still investigating to try to find out what led up to such aggressive action toward the officer,” Blaisdell said. “He does have a significant violent criminal history.”

“We’re just extremely thankful that no one’s hurt,” Blaisdell said.

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