DALLAS >> A police officer who was shot when a suspected shoplifter opened fire at a Home Depot in north Dallas died today, but another officer and a store employee who were also hit appear to be on the mend, city officials said.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced the death of Rogelio Santander, a three-year veteran of the Police Department, at a city council meeting this morning.
The suspected gunman, 29-year-old Armando Luis Juarez, was arrested late Tuesday on charges of aggravated assault on a public servant and felony theft. He was subsequently charged with capital murder. Juarez was being held on a bond in excess of $1 million at the Dallas County jail.
Santander, officer Crystal Almeida and Home Depot loss-prevention officer Scott Painter all underwent surgery and although the two surviving victims are described as in critical condition, police Chief U. Renee Hall said at a brief news conference today that they’re “making remarkable recoveries.”
“This is going to be a trying time for us, so we’re just asking you for your support at this time,” Hall said.
Police were called to the Home Depot in Lake Highlands at around 4 p.m. Tuesday to remove Juarez from the store. An arrest warrant indicates he was suspected of shoplifting. Juarez opened fire as he was being detained, and made his escape. Several law enforcement agencies were involved in a high-speed pursuit that led to his eventual arrest just before 10 p.m.
Rawlings said late Tuesday that he was “upset at the lack of respect for our police in this city and in our country.”
In 2016, four Dallas police officers and a transit officer were shot dead by a sniper in an ambush that came toward the end of a peaceful protest over the police killings of black men in other cities.
Relatives of Juarez said they couldn’t believe he would be involved in such a violent episode.
“There’s no way my son could’ve done this,” Ruben Juarez told The Dallas Morning News, adding that he didn’t think his son owned any guns.
Armando Juarez’s grandmother, Janie Longoria, told reporters Tuesday that her grandson is a “sweet, lovable person,” but that his friends are a bad influence.
“And I told him to stay away from those people,” she said.
Juarez was arrested in January on a charge of unlawful use of a motor vehicle after authorities say he was found in a stolen vehicle. He also pleaded guilty to a drug-possession charge.