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Video: Off-duty Dallas cop disarms man who tried to shoot him, store clerks

Dallas officer says his finger made the difference between life and death for him Tuesday night

By Tristan Hallman
The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — A Dallas officer says his finger made the difference between life and death for him Tuesday night while he was disarming a gunman.

Officer Richard Stewart, a seven-year veteran of the department, said he was running a little late to work when he drove by a Love Field area liquor store and noticed in the corner of his eye a fight outside. Stewart, who works in plain clothes, pulled into the parking lot to try to figure out what was going on.

“I really didn’t want to get out if I didn’t have to,” Stewart said Wednesday. “Very quickly, I figured out it was a possible robbery and the guy had a gun.”

The suspect was fighting with two clerks at the store in the 1600 block of Storey Lane. Stewart heard the man tell the clerks that he was going to shoot them. The clerks had chased the suspect after he allegedly stole Tequila.

Stewart tried to intervene. He said he pushed the gun downward and struggled with the suspect for about five minutes.

At one point, the suspect pointed his revolver at Stewart. The officer said he managed to lodge his finger between the trigger guard and the trigger, preventing the suspect from firing. Stewart said the man still tried to shoot him in the head. Eventually, Stewart also used his hand to release the revolver’s cylinder and empty out the bullets.

Stewart, who has three children, one of whom was born in October, said he didn’t have time to be afraid of what might happen.

“I was thinking, ‘I’m not going to die today,’” Stewart said.

Stewart said he has been in a few similar past confrontations with armed suspects. But he said he doesn’t know if he’d be able to repeat his actions if he could.

The man was arrested and charged with felony theft, aggravated assault on public servant, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of methamphetamine, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. His name has not yet been released.

Maj. Jimmy Vaughan of the northwest patrol division said he was pleased that Stewart, 33, wasn’t seriously hurt.

“This is an extraordinary arrest,” he said. “This is phenomenal the way it turned out.”

Vaughan said Stewart will likely be getting some commendations in the near future.

“There are so many medals involved in this. I can’t wait to get a hold of his supervisor to get the paperwork started.”

Copyright 2014 The Dallas Morning News