South Dallas Shootout Leads to Car Chase, Murder Charge

Dallas police car | Image by Wangkun Jia

A gunfight at a liquor store in South Dallas Thursday afternoon resulted in one fatality and the shooting of a Dallas police officer.

The suspect, 45-year-old Juan Vincente Zavala Lopez, has been arrested and charged with murder, one count of aggravated assault, and four counts of aggravated assault of a peace officer, according to the Dallas Police Department’s crime blog.

Police said that the incident began at the First Stop liquor store on Scyene Road, which is located in Council Member Adam Bazaldua’s District 7. Officers were called around 1:30 p.m. When they arrived at the scene, officers allegedly came upon a shootout between an individual in a vehicle and another on the street. The suspect allegedly fired his weapon at the officers, who returned fire.

The exchange of gunfire led to a car chase that ended in the 4700 block of Second Avenue. One officer was shot in their bullet-proof vest. They were taken to a hospital in stable condition, DPD said.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the suspect remained at large for several hours after the shootout. He was arrested by police in the 2000 block of South Valley Parkway in Lewisville around 8 p.m., some 30 miles away from the scene of the shooting.

The suspect was booked into Dallas County jail on Friday. It is currently unclear if bail has been set or if the suspect has an attorney.

Dallas has been seeing a rise in murders this year, with 176 committed this year as of September 14, marking a 7% increase over the same period last year, according to a report by DPD.

DPD has been short-staffed in recent years, operating with a force of under 3,200 officers. A City analysis advises that a city the size of Dallas needs about three officers for every 1,000 residents, putting an adequate staffing level at roughly 4,000 officers.

The shortage has been especially felt in Downtown Dallas, which regularly logs higher crime rates than nearby Fort Worth’s downtown area. A special neighborhood police unit reportedly patrols the latter alongside private security guards.

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