Arlington mall shoplifting suspect shot by police was wanted fugitive

Arlington police said Monday the shoplifting suspect who was shot after pulling a B.B. gun at a mall was a wanted fugitive and he called 911 shortly before officers shot him.

Investigators say William Paul Dodd, 21, was a shoplifting suspect and pulled out what looked like a semi-automatic handgun Sunday evening and pointed it at an officer who was following him. That officer shot Dodd, believing it was an actual handgun.

Police said on Friday, Dodd ran from officers who tried to pull him over for aggressive driving. The officers gave up chasing him.

On Sunday, Dodd called 911 roughly an hour before the shoplifting incident at the Parks at Arlington and told a dispatcher he was wanted, that he had a gun and officers had better be ready. Dodd allegedly told dispatch he was at Stovall Park in Arlington, but police didn't find him there.

Instead, he was at the mall and at 4:30 p.m. Sunday they say he stole two pairs of Ray Bans from Sunglass Hut and took off running. A mall security guard radioed an off-duty Arlington police officer working security. Police say that officer yelled at Dodd to stop and that's when he pointed a B.B. gun at the officer and the officer shot him several times.

"There's no training in the world that exists that I'm aware of where an officer would be able to, in a matter of seconds, quickly distinguish between a real or a fake gun,” said Arlington PD Lt. Chris Cook.

Cook said during a Monday press conference he doesn't know why fake guns look so similar to real guns, or why they're cheap and easily available to criminals. Dodd is a convicted felon with ten prior arrests in Arlington, mainly for drugs and theft. He had a warrant out for filing a false police report.

"We're open to a lot of different possibilities -- everything from potentially banning their use in a public space to having serious conversations with manufacturers about how they look,” Cook said.

Dodd has a previous criminal history and Arlington police say they have not ruled out that the incident was a so-called attempted “suicide by cop” situation.

Dodd remains in critical condition at an area hospital.

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