Police chase ends with one dead
Tue, 17 Aug 2010 13:02:48 GMT —
UPDATE: Amarillo police say a stolen Schwan's truck was spotted just after 10:30 Monday night in north Amarillo. They followed the truck all over town, even deploying spike strips to stop the vehicle but the driver avoided the spikes and continued to evade police.
Another set of spike strips did not function properly. Police say the driver swerved in the direction of officer Jowell Bullard, who was in the street with the spike strip. Bullard said he feared for his life, and fired a single shot at the driver. The truck continued south on Amarillo Boulevard and stopped in the parking lot of the Weinerschnitzel where it struck a large light pole.
Police say the driver, who had a gunshot wound to his upper right side was declared dead at the scene. He has been identified as 32-year-old Ruben Arthur Flores Jr. of Amarillo. Justice of the Peace Nancy Bosquez responded to the scene and ordered an autopsy be performed on Flores in Lubbock on Tuesday.
Lietenant Gary Trupe with APD Special Crimes says right now they are looking at both the suspect and the shooting.
"Here's all the things that happened with him. Then you have the officer shooting and that's what I'm kind of looking at. Was he justified? We know the truck's stolen, we know that we had the pursuit, we know he's driving. We all know those are the bad things. I also know that I have an officer over here shooting, and is he justified in doing what he did."
Officer Bullard has been placed on administrative leave per department policy and will be on restricted duty until this shooting is presented to the Potter County DA and a Potter County Grand Jury.
Police say there was no excessive speed on Flores' part just some erratic driving, they also described Flores' speed as the speed limit or slightly over. Investigators are looking into what could have been Flores' motive.
"He was a registered sex offender here in Amarillo. He has a criminal history, we don't know, I don't know if he has an addiction to anything right away as to what's going on. We know that he's been involved in a few things by the local records," said Lt. Trupe.
A supervisor with Schwans said that the truck contained several thousands of dollars of inventory when it was stolen. The company's truck had some damage to the front bumper where it struck the light pole.
Management at Weinerschnitzel estimated that the damage to their property and business was $15,000 dollars.
The investigation of this incident is ongoing at the time of this release and anyone with information on the stolen Schwan truck and the officer involved shooting is asked to call the Special Crimes Unit at 378-9468.