‘Bril­liant’ Fort Worth of­fi­cer dies of wounds

Man who killed him is dead, po­lice say; 2 other sus­pects are in cus­tody

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - By LOYD BRUMFIELD Staff Writer lbrum­field@dal­las­news.com

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.”

GAR­RETT HULL

TI­MOTHY HUFF

SA­MUEL MAY­FIELD

DA­CION STEP­TOE

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