A North Texas police officer was shot and killed on Tuesday while responding to a call about a man with a gun. He is the third peace officer to die from a gunshot wound in less than three weeks into the new year.
UPDATE 10:40 p.m. CST: Little Elm Fire Chief Brian Roach confirmed to local reporters that the suspect who shot and killed Detective Jerry Walker with a rifle was found dead inside the home. He barricaded himself inside the home after opening fire on the officers. The standoff with the police lasted several hours, NBCDFW5 reported late Tuesday night.
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES:
Little Elm Police Detective Jerry Walker was responding with other officers to a report about a man with a gun about 3 p.m. on Tuesday. Officers told the suspect to drop his weapon, but he ran inside a home and opened fire on police officers, WFAA ABC8 in Dallas reported. Denton County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Orlando Hinojosa told reporters, “One officer was shot.”
Little Elm, Texas, is located in Denton County, just north of the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex.
Officer Walker reportedly received one gunshot wound to the upper neck, Fox4 Dallas reported. He was transported by air ambulance to the Denton Regional Hospital where he later died from his wound.
Nearby schools had to be evacuated as they were just letting out for the afternoon. One school bus in the neighborhood had to be evacuated as a safety precaution as the suspect barricaded himself inside the house.
As of this posting, the suspect is still engaged in the standoff with police. He is believed to be alone in the house.
“It is with a heavy heart and sadness that we announce the passing of Detective Jerry Walker,” Little Elm Police Chief Rodney Harrison told reporters in an emotion filled statement. “He was 48-years-of-age and joined the department in September of 1988.”
Walker was the father of four children, Harrison said. The children ranged in age from 4-months to 22-years. “He was a model officer and someone who will be missed by the department and the town of Little Elm,” Harrison concluded.
When the officers first arrived on the scene, the observed the suspect with a rifle, NBCDFW reported. After Walker was shot in the neck, other officers rushed in an quickly moved him to safety.
Facebook user Patrick Fallon posted a tribute to Detective Walker, calling it the “saddest thing I have ever posted.”
Before Detective Walker passed away from his wound, Texas Governor Greg Abbot Tweeted a call for prayer. “Prayers for our finest,” the governor wrote.
Prayers for our finest. https://t.co/zjCCLIefqQ
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) January 18, 2017
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As Detective Walker’s body was carried from the hospital, first responders could be seen paying their respects.
— DFW TV News (@DFWTVNews) January 18, 2017
Walker is the 6th police officer to be killed in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. He is the second officer to be killed by gunfire. A third officer, Ney York City Police Detective Steven McDonal, also died this year from a gunshot wound he received 31 years earlier. By this same point in 2016, three officers had lost their lives in the line of duty – two of the three from gunfire.
Earlier on Tuesday, Breitbart Texas published a national survey of 8,000 police officers compiled by the Pew Research Center. One of the biggest concerns expressed by officers in the survey was the danger of being killed by gunfire.
Editor’s Note: This developing story has been updated with additional information.