Shooting at Dallas airport captured on video, officer praised for saving lives

"I can't teach bravery or courage. I know his actions saved lives," Chief Eddie Garcia said about Officer Ronald Cronin


By Domingo Ramirez Jr.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

DALLAS — A 37-year-old woman threatened to blow up Dallas Love Field and fired two shots at the airport ceiling and one toward a Dallas police officer before the officer fired back and wounded her Monday, according to the Dallas police chief.

Police identified the woman as Portia Odufuwa, who was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Odufuwa faces a charge of aggravated assault of a public servant, according to Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

Odufuwa, armed with a handgun, fired the shots as she stood near a ticket counter at the airport, Garcia said at a news conference Tuesday.

Witnesses heard Odufuwa saying something about her “husband,” who she claimed was rapper Chris Brown, according to an affidavit obtained Tuesday by Fort Worth Star-Telegram media partner WFAA-TV and the Dallas Morning News.

Odufuwa shouted, “I am going to blow this [expletive] up,” according to the document.

The affidavit stated that Odufuwa fired two shots into the ceiling and authorities later found a round “with a trajectory that was located in the kiosk near where” the officer had taken cover, WFAA reported, which confirmed “she was shooting at the officer during the encounter.”

Garcia said that the officer, who was not injured, fired eight to nine times, shooting the woman in her lower body and causing her to fall to the ground. Garcia identified the officer as Ronald Cronin.

Odufuwa had arrived at the airport about 11 a.m. Monday, getting there by an Uber driver, Garcia said.

She walked by a Southwest Airlines ticket counter, went into a bathroom and stayed there about five minutes before stepping out wearing a black sweatshirt with the hood over her head and her hands in her pockets, Garcia said at Tuesday’s news conference.

Odufuwa said she had an announcement to make and began rambling about her marriage and incarceration, Garcia said. She then pulled out the gun and began firing, the police chief said. Her shots did not hit anyone.

Video surveillance in the airport, released by police at the press conference, showed that Officer Cronin was just a few feet from Odufuwa when she started shooting, and he immediately took cover behind a ticket kiosk and started ordering her to drop her weapon.

Her appearance after she got out of the bathroom caught the attention of the Dallas officer, a 15-year veteran of the department.

Garcia called Cronin “a guardian and a warrior.”

“I can’t teach bravery or courage,” the police chief said. “... I know his actions saved lives.”

Seconds after the shooting started, three other Dallas police officers arrived on the scene.

The Dallas police chief said investigators did not know what Odufuwa’s motive might have been in the shooting or where she had gotten the handgun, which she was prohibited to own. She had been prohibited from owning a weapon since 2018, Garcia said.

The gun could hold 16 rounds, Garcia said. It had five rounds remaining in it, and police found three spent shell casings, he said.

Odufuwa underwent surgery at Parkland and was stable on Tuesday, he said.

She may face additional, federal charges, Garcia said. The FBI and ATF are assisting with the investigation.

Evacuation and flight delays

At least part of the airport was evacuated immediately after the shooting.

Rockwall Police Chief Max Geron, who is a former Dallas Police Department commander, tweeted that he “just got evacuated out of Love Field after an apparent shooting. Family is safe. TSA did a great job.”

Videos shared on social media showed people hiding in different parts of the airport or being ushered outside after being told to run.

Across the country, there were more than 1,040 delays and nearly 270 cancellations while flights were held at their origin point, according to FlightAware’s MiseryMap. Some canceled flights out of Love Field included trips to Denver, El Paso, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Nashville, according to Southwest Airlines’ flight tracker.

At 11:11 a.m., officials issued a ground stop at the airport for security reasons that was expected to last until 2:30 p.m. Monday, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Departures were grounded, FAA officials said, and flights inbound to Dallas Love Field were held at their departure location.

Suspect’s criminal record

Odufuwa has a criminal record in Collin and Dallas counties. It was unclear Tuesday whether she has a current attorney.

In September 2020, she was detained by an officer at Love Field and transported for a mental health evaluation, Garcia said.

The police chief also said she had tried to buy a gun in Texas at least twice since 2016 but was rejected because of an outstanding traffic warrant in New Mexico.

She was charged three years ago with robbery after an encounter with a bank teller in Collin County.

A judge dismissed the charge against Odufuwa on May 31, 2019. A mental competency evaluation report was filed in the case also on that date, according to a court record. The report’s conclusions are not described in the online record.

Odufuwa entered a Bank of America in Wylie on April 5, 2019, and displayed a note demanding money, police said. Officers said they found Odufuwa in an adjacent area as she attempted to walk or run. After a short pursuit, police took Odufuwa into custody.

Public records indicate she lives in Wylie and previously had residences in other North Texas cities and in California.

In September 2020, a person applied to a court for an order protecting the person from Odufuwa. A judge denied the application, according to a court record.

In October 2019, police arrested Odufuwa in Mesquite on suspicion of arson in connection with a house fire, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Odufuwa was standing outside the burning house when she indicated to a police officer that she started the fire intentionally, according to an arrest warrant affidavit included in the newspaper’s report.

“I am God’s prophet, and I need an attorney, but I’m basically letting you all know that I am the cause of this fire,” she said, according to the affidavit.

A grand jury declined to indict Odufuwa in the case, according to the Dallas Morning News.

According to WFAA, court documents also show Odufuwa went to outpatient therapy after she was found incompetent to stand trial on a Dallas County charge of filing a false report in 2021.

She didn’t successfully complete the therapy but was released to be “fully engaged in mental health services with a different provider,” WFAA reported, citing court documents.

©2022 Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Visit star-telegram.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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