Monday, January 04, 2010

Cop Watch: What's With All the Gunfights Down in Pleasant Grove?

Pleasant Grove is a small community located in southeast Dallas -- lotsa folk here just call it "the Grove." And that may be a really accurate moniker these days because it appears that some very UNpleasant things are happening there.

The Backstory: a Gunbattle Last Month ....

Just last month, the Dallas Morning News had a report on December 12, 2009, of a "gunbattle" involving a young man named Jae-Ron Andrews. According to media accounts, shortly after lunchtime on a Friday afternoon, Jae-Ron was meeting up with a drug dealer to buy some illegal substances (presumably in preparation for a fun weekend). Things turned sour, and 23 year old Jae-Ron pulled a pistol on the dealer. The dealer pulled his own weapon, and the two began exchanging gunfire. Jae-Ron was killed in the skirmish.

... Next, Fifteen Cops Vs. An Injured Nineteen Year Old

Then, right before the New Year, DMN reports on another gunbattle in the Grove -- less than three weeks after the first one. And this one is scary because it involves thirteen (13) Dallas cops and two (2) more police officers from Mesquite drawing guns and giving fire in an altercation with a single individual, a teenager from Dallas who was killed during this onslaught.

Nineteen (19) year old Dontell Mitch Terrell died on the night of December 29th at the Dallas County Medical Center of multiple gunshot wounds. His sixteen (16) year old cohort, also shot, did not sustain life-threatening injuries -- he was shot in a separate incident, by a Mesquite officer.

Dontell was shot when the 15 law enforcement officers "opened fire" (quoting DMN) on the teenager after he allegedly failed to drop his weapon. Reports aren't revealing how many times Dontell was hit, but the Dallas Morning News has seen fit to list the names of every single law enforcement officer that pulled his gun on Dontell Terrell.

Dontell was a troubled kid

Allegedly, Dontell and two pals had been robbing the local Papa John's pizza joint and the police caught up with the three on the road, after they'd left the scene driving a white Chevy. A high speed chase began, ending with Dontell jumping from the car and running -- getting hit in the process by a Mesquite police car. Injured, he ran into a nearby home where there was a standoff with police while he threatened suicide and told his mother over the phone that he wanted to die rather than return to jail.

Here's the question: did Dontell have to be shot down? by 15 different shooters?

Assuming that Dontell was suicidal and refusing to put down his weapon as a way to commit "suicide by cop," did that mean that 15 cops needed to fire upon the teenager? The listing of each cop involved in the shooting, together with their years of experience in law enforcment, suggests that this blog may not be the only place where the question arises: couldn't an injured 19 year old have been protected from his own suicidal wishes? Or is the Grove its own little version of the Wild West today?