‘Brilliant’ Fort Worth officer dies of wounds
Man who killed him is dead, police say; 2 other suspects are in custody
Garrett Hull, described as a “brilliant” officer for the Fort Worth Police Department, died of his wounds late Friday after being shot in the head while responding to a robbery in progress.
Garrett Hull was the glue who held his Fort Worth police unit together — a rock who loved the department so much he came back to serve it after he left it for two years.
On Friday morning, Hull was shot in the head while responding to a robbery in progress at a Fort Worth bar. He died at 9:40 p.m. Friday at John Peter Smith Hospital.
“We’ve lost a true hero,” Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said shortly after midnight that night. “Someone that has dedicated more than one tour of service to this great city was senselessly killed by three known criminals, two of which are in custody now.” A third suspect, Dacion Steptoe, was killed at the scene when police returned fire. Steptoe, 23, was identified as the man who killed Hull.
The other suspects, 33-year-old Samuel Mayfield and 33-year-old Timothy Huff, were chased down and captured.
They each face 10 counts of robbery, according to Tarrant County Jail records. Both
will also face capital murder charges in Hull’s death.
Hull, 40, lay in critical condition for several hours as his family and fellow officers gathered around him. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
“In our whole department, there’s not a dry eye in the house,” an emotional Fitzgerald said. “Our whole department is hurting right now.”
Mayor Betsy Price and Fitzgerald both described Hull as a rock that his fellow officers depended on. “Garrett was truly a hero. I’ve enjoyed hearing people who worked with him talk about him as a rock,” Price said. “The sacrifices our officers make go unnoticed until we have a tragedy such as this. And the shock and the grief wake people up to the fact that many of our men and women serving don’t go home.”
Fitzgerald said Hull was special because he served two stints with the department, leaving in 2009 after his initial stay and returning in 2011.
“Some of our officers who have left us have found that the grass is no greener on the other side,” Fitzgerald said. “But [Hull] came back to us and he was no different than before. He was always dependable.”
Hull was part of a task force of uniformed and plainclothes officers who were investigating a string of robberies in the Fort Worth area and beyond. At least three people had been injured during the robberies, Fitzgerald said, including one bystander who was shot in the head.
Officers decided to rush the bar when they discovered a robbery was under way.
Surveillance video obtained by KXAS-TV (NBC5) shows two hooded men running onto a patio where several customers sat drinking. One of the robbers threw four men to the ground, pistol-whipping one of them. No one in the bar was seriously hurt, police said.
“They bum-rushed the bar, told us to hit the floor. They had the guns out,” Los Vaqueros Bar owner Victor Zepeda told NBC5. “And as soon as they took off, I heard gunfire. A lot of it.”
Hull is the first Fort Worth officer to die in the line of duty since 2006, when a drunken driver killed Dwayne Freeto, who was in his squad car.
In all, 58 officers have died on the job in the department’s history.
Tarrant County Blue, a nonprofit, is accepting donations on behalf of Hull’s family. The organization’s co-founder, Greg Morse, said 100 percent of the funds raised will go to the family. Donations by check should be sent to P.O. Box 1659, Fort Worth, Texas 76102.
Another organization, Assist the Officer, provides financial support to Fort Worth-area officers who have been injured in the line of duty or to the families of officers killed. For more information, visit atofortworth.org.
Price said one fellow officer described Hull as the “glue” that held his unit together.
“Garrett was the one in the middle, holding them together,” the mayor said. “He was a brilliant officer, a great husband and a father.”