Dallas shooting suspect James Harper is dead, and local residents are asking 'why?' At around 5 p.m. today, police responded to a 911 call claiming a man had been kidnapped and taken to a house located near Mural Lane and Barber Ave. Police Chief David Brown now believes the call was bogus, and the likely culprits could be a rival drug gang.
Earlier reports state that the shooting victim, 31-year-old James Harper, was unarmed and shot in the back by an officer in pursuit after he jumped a fence and threw his empty hands in the air. Chief Brown told reporters during a news conference later that witnesses reported Harper fighting with officer Brian Rowden.
When officers initially responded to the call, Brown said, four people fled the home. Rowden then pursued Harper through an alley and over 3 fences. On three separate occasions during this pursuit, witnesses who called 911 said they saw Harper and Rowden physically battling. At the end, Rowden was out of breath and getting beaten up pretty badly, and fearing for his life, shot Harper.
Before shots were fired, Harper reportedly told Rowden, "You're going to have to kill me." No gun was found on Harper after the fatal shooting.
Neighbors offered up information to officers who responded, telling them that the house Harper ran from is well-known as a place where people deal drugs. Crack cocaine was found inside the house and in the yard, lending credence to that allegation.
After the Dallas shooting, angry crowds descended on the area, some folks tried to provoke officers in riot gear, while others pulled their friends and family away. The officers who responded to the tense situation did so with utmost professionalism. Camera crews hovering in helicopters above filmed officers talking calmly with citizens, remaining calm in the face of defiant protestors, and individual officers diffusing heated exchanges between residents.
Chief Brown said that James Harper had a long criminal record, and one of the other suspects who fled has already turned himself in to police. Police divisions from seven subteams responded as well as the Dallas County Sheriff's Department.
All of the responding officers should be commended for the way they handled the situation. All too often the media is full of reports where riots and police brutality occur.