Video: Texas Police Try to De-Escalate Tense Clash with Armed Student

Feb. 27, 2024
Before shots were fired, body camera footage captured Mesquite police officers trying to negotiate with a student who brought a gun to school with "intentions of harming others," according to authorities.

By Jamie Landers

Source The Dallas Morning News

Officers negotiated with the 16-year-old student who brought a gun into a Mesquite school last week for nearly five minutes before the first shots were fired, according to body-worn camera footage released by the Mesquite Police Department Tuesday.

Officers were dispatched about 8:50 a.m. Feb. 19 to the Pioneer Technology and Arts Academy campus in the 3200 block of Oates Drive, near San Marcus Avenue, for reports a student was in the school’s office with a handgun and refused to put it down.

“A student just pulled a gun,” a woman, who identified herself as an assistant principal, said in 911 call audio. “I need someone here now.”

Police said school administrators spoke with the student to keep him calm until officers arrived. A woman can be heard in the background of the 911 call repeatedly asking the student to “put it down” and “back on the floor.”

When officers arrived, an administrator was speaking to the student from the office’s doorway, the footage shows. The administrator told police the student was sitting on a couch and had placed the gun on the floor at his feet.

“Be still and don’t move,” the administrator said. “I need you to trust me, do you understand?”

Police said officers spent roughly four and a half minutes trying to negotiate with the student.

“What’s going on today, buddy?” an officer asked from the doorway, his gun drawn but pointed toward the floor. “We would like to help you, that’s why we’re here.”

The officer tried asking the student if anything had upset him. The student does not appear to respond.

“Can you listen to me closely? Please do not reach for that gun,” the officer said. “We don’t want anything to happen to you or anyone else.”

The student then leaned down and reached for the floor, the footage shows. An officer fired three shots into the office.

“Shots fired, shots fired,” an officer yelled into his radio.

An officer who was holding the office door open retreated during the gunfire and the door began to close, according to the footage. When another officer opened the door, the student can be seen standing with his gun raised.

Three officers then fired at the student, and the office lights appear to turn off. A total of 19 shots were fired, police said.

The student did not fire any shots, according to police.

The student’s leg was wounded, but police have said it is unclear whether he was shot or hit by shrapnel.

The student was taken to a hospital but was released the same day and booked into a Dallas County juvenile detention facility. He faces multiple counts of aggravated assault against a public servant and exhibition of a firearm, police said.

No other injuries were reported and police said all 19 shots were confined to the office, located at the end of a hall with no rooms behind it.

Witness interviews revealed the student came to the school with “intentions of harming others,” police said. The department did not elaborate.

When asked the officers’ intentions in shooting at the student, a department spokesman previously told The Dallas Morning News Mesquite officers use deadly force to stop a threat of death or serious bodily injury, and do not fire warning shots or shoot to injure or disarm.

Because of his age, the student’s name has not been released. The names of the officers who fired have also not been released, but police said they included an eight-year veteran, a five-year veteran and an officer-in-training with multiple years of service from another agency.

The school began installing new safety measures on the campus the day after the shooting, including adding metal detectors, additional surveillance cameras, providing additional training to staff and securing entry points. Specifics have not been made available regarding the additional staff training.

A news release from the school also mentioned an armed security guard on the campus, however it is not clear what role, if any, they played during the incident. A new Texas law that requires schools to have some type of armed personnel on campus took effect in September.


©2024 The Dallas Morning News.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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