Video: Robbery Suspect Opens Fire on Undercover Dallas Police Officer

March 19, 2024
Dallas Police Officer Tyler Morris is recovering after he was shot in the hip while pursuing a 17-year-old suspect who had nearly struck an unmarked cruiser while driving erratically.

By Kelli Smith

Source The Dallas Morning News

A 17-year-old who shot a Dallas police officer last week was also suspected in two aggravated robberies, including one that led to an officer shooting in Glenn Heights, Dallas police Chief Eddie García said Monday.

The most recent robbery occurred about three hours before Jaheart Nickelberry shot a Dallas police officer early Thursday in the 3200 block of Easter Avenue in east Oak Cliff, the chief said at an afternoon news conference.

Dallas police Officer Tyler Morris was shot in the hip and is recovering at a hospital. The chief said Nickelberry fired from a stolen vehicle at an unmarked police car about 12:45 a.m. He said no officers fired their weapons in the shooting.

“We are lucky that we did not lose an officer that day,” the chief said.

Nickelberry was arrested on charges including aggravated assault, evading arrest or detention in a motor vehicle, two counts of aggravated robbery, unauthorized use of a vehicle and tampering with evidence, police officials said. It was unclear whether he had an attorney. He remained in the Dallas County jail on Monday, with bail set at about $550,000.

The department released edited surveillance, dash-camera and body-camera footage Monday that showed some of the moments before and after the shooting.

Officers working in a “covert capacity” followed the vehicle Nickelberry drove because he was driving erratically and nearly hit an unmarked police vehicle while doing donuts, García said.

After the suspects realized they were being followed, surveillance footage released by the department shows a Chevy Camaro make a U-turn and pass the unmarked police vehicle. Nickelberry then fired five times, two of which hit the police vehicle, the chief said.

The Camaro sped off, and Morris called for help over the police radio, according to officials. As he was being treated, nearby officers pursued the suspect vehicle for about 10 minutes, García said.

The Camaro came to a stop in the 7200 block of Chesterfield Drive, and the footage shows someone — who the chief identified as Nickelberry — run from the driver’s side with what appears to be a gun in hand. He was later found in an apartment complex, according to the chief.

Footage from a police helicopter tracking Nickelberry as he ran from the Camaro shows him raise his hands in the air as at least three officers rush him. About 30 seconds of an officer’s body-camera footage spliced into the department’s released video shows Nickelberry taken to the ground by the officers as they work to detain him.

The video ends as he’s on the ground with officers hovering over him.

Police took a total of five people into custody, and one male passenger remains at large, García said. A 15-year-old girl who also ran from the Camaro was caught after a short chase on foot and faces a charge of evading arrest or detention, García said. Her name was not released because of her age.

The girl and Nickelberry were hospitalized for “minor injuries,” and additional charges are possible, the chief said. Three other teenagers stayed in the car and were released without charges.

García said investigators recovered a handgun, reported stolen, that was tossed from the vehicle’s window during the pursuit.

Police determined that same Chevy was involved in an aggravated robbery about 10 p.m. in the 3500 block of Cripple Creek, García said. In that incident, the chief said, Nickelberry and another male suspect agreed to meet someone to sell vape pens, but as they approached the victim’s vehicle, the victim began to drive away.

Nickelberry and the other suspect opened fire, which caused the victim to crash the vehicle and run away on foot, García said. The suspects stole property from the vehicle that was later found in the Chevy Camaro, the chief said.

Investigators later determined Nickelberry was also a suspect in a home invasion that led to a shooting in Glenn Heights, the chief said.

The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office said last month that officers answered a robbery call in the 2500 block of Sunburst Drive in Glenn Heights and encountered people that matched suspect descriptions.

The officers tried to take the suspects into custody and an “altercation” occurred, according to the sheriff’s office. One suspect shot at the officers and more than one officer returned fire, according to Glenn Heights police and the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office. One suspect, who wasn’t named, died at a hospital.

It’s unclear when authorities identified Nickelberry as the second suspect involved. The sheriff’s office did not immediately respond to inquiries Monday.

García said Nickelberry was the driver in that incident and faces two aggravated robbery charges — one from the Glenn Heights incident and one from the hours leading up to the Dallas shooting last week.

Whether or not Nickelberry knew the unmarked vehicle last week carried officers, García said, he still fired into an occupied vehicle with “no regard for human life.”

The chief would not release Morris’ name, only saying the officer shot had been with DPD about four years, was assigned to the Tactical and Special Operations bureau and had been working overtime when the shooting happened.

On Facebook last week, Morris identified himself as the officer who was shot and said he’d had two surgeries.

He said on Friday that “the prognosis is looking good,” adding the bullet was removed from his hip joint without dislocating his hip. He said family members took the news harder than he did, but noted that he believed his father was his guardian angel who “took great care of me.”

“My hip is broken, but stable,” Morris wrote. “There is not much feeling in my left leg currently, but the doctors think this should recover eventually. ... Please keep myself and family in your thoughts and prayers.”

García released photos on X last week showing Morris in a hospital bed with a thumbs up. The chief said Morris’ first question out of surgery was: “Did we catch ‘em?”

“God bless the peacemakers!” the chief wrote on X.


©2024 The Dallas Morning News.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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