Video released by the Dallas Police Department on Wednesday showed a crowded scene that quickly degenerated into chaos and the fatal shooting of a gunman near Fair Park on Sunday evening.
Donathy Doddy, 61, was killed by Dallas police. A bystander was shot in the leg, though Dallas Police Chief Eddie García said it’s still unclear whether that person was hit by police or Doddy gunfire , who reportedly fired at least one shot – possibly two – before being shot down.
The shooting happened around 6:10 p.m. Sunday in a parking lot on the 3400 block of Metropolitan Avenue, just south of Fair Park. García said dispatchers received 911 calls from witnesses who said Doddy was pointing a gun at people, and officers Zachary Wohlwend and Thomas Hartmann arrived within minutes.
Video from officers’ body-worn cameras shows what appeared to be a party in the parking lot, with music playing and several people hanging around a tent.
Wohlwend and Hartmann quickly recognized Doddy because one of the officers had previously had interactions with him, García said. The video, which is very blurry, shows Doddy standing near a tent with several people.
“There are too many people around, I can’t put him at gunpoint,” an officer said into his radio. The same officer calls out Doddy’s name while asking passers-by to move away. Doddy turns to the officer, who is hiding behind a van, and the officer tells him to get his hand off a gun.
Several shots are heard and Doddy collapses in front of a car – his yellow sweatshirt quickly soaked in blood. The video shows a handgun a few feet away from Doddy, but the footage does not clearly show him shooting at officers.
One officer helps Doddy while the other asks bystanders if anyone else was hit.
After a man holding a cane says he’s been shot in the leg, the officer hands a passerby a tourniquet and tells him to apply it to the man’s leg. This man was later treated and released from hospital.
Meanwhile, a crowd gathers around Doddy and the other officer, pleading with the officers to perform CPR. A passerby offers to help him and the officer gives him a pair of gloves.
García said another passerby picked up Doddy’s gun and put it in his car for safekeeping, an action García said was done “in good faith.”
Doddy died in hospital at 6:31 p.m.
As the situation quickly deteriorated, the camera carried by the officers shows that several bystanders were standing around Doddy, within range of the two officers and in their lines of fire. At a press conference on Wednesday, García defended the officers’ decision to start shooting. “I’m not entirely sure there were many other ways these officers could have approached this situation,” he said.
A total of 15 shots were fired by police – 11 from one officer and four from the other, García said. But he declined to say how many of those 15 shots hit Doddy. When asked why, García simply replied, “Because I’m not going to say it now.”
Dallas police spokeswoman Kristin Lowman later clarified in an email that García “did not provide a specific number because the number is part of an ongoing investigation.”
“If it is determined that the other victim was hit by one of our officer’s shots, we will release that information,” Lowman said. “That too is part of the ongoing investigation.”
García said Doddy used to “act aggressively in the area”. He had been arrested on two different charges involving firearms in a week in August and was out on bail, García said.
“As I’ve said before, any loss of life is tragic,” García said. “It’s a tragedy for Donathy Doddy’s family and friends, but it’s also a tragedy for our officers who were involved that night. This is never our expected outcome.
Wohlwend has worked with the Dallas Police Department for seven years, while Hartmann has been a member of the force for about nine months. Neither officer was injured in the shooting.