Three Arlington police officers were awarded the Medal of Valor for stopping a crazy, destructive crime spree last September.
The crime spree and chase started in Mansfield when officers responded to a carjacking at a gas station and bank robbery. Before it was over, police say the suspect robbed another bank in Arlington and carjacked a band new BMW from a local dealership. That’s when the rolling gun battle and high-speed chase started and ended minutes later with a violent crash.
Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson presented Sgt. Richard Grimmett and Officer Charles Crawford the Medal of Valor for their exceptional bravery and courage for risking their lives to bring an end to a violent one-man crime spree in two cities last September.
Dylan Perry, 38, carjacked two people, robbed two banks, and began a brief shootout with police Arlington before finally coming to an end with a head-on crash that injured three innocent people inside a pickup truck, according to police.
“You know, I've timed it and the entire encounter was about less than 4 seconds,” said Grimmett. “My guardian angel was on my shoulder.”
Sgt. Grimmett, a 32-year-veteran of the department was the first officer fired on as he got out of his squad car.
"He simply leaned out of the car and turned his body so that he could fire on me from a seated position,” he recalled.
Grimmett returned fire and chased Perry with his shot-up squad car. Seconds later, police say Perry drove in a circle and opened fire on officers again. This time, he fired at the crowded intersection of Division and Cooper, right in front of the Arlington Police Station.
"All of a sudden, he makes a U-turn in the middle of the road and he comes out with a gun and just starts shooting at the police in the middle of the road right here,” said Senica Morris who witnessed the shooting.
Special Operations Officer Charles Crawford knew potential harm was coming his way on West Division Street.
"I was also concerned know he had the pistol and already used it twice,” said Crawford. “He also just drove by and shot at me as he drove by.”
Crawford says he fired on Perry and struck him at least once in the head but had no idea how close he came to being run over until he reviewed the dash camera video.
"I actually had to shoot while back peddling,” he said. “And when I fired my last shot, he came within three feet of me."
Store surveillance video shows Perry speed off. The collision with the pickup happened off camera. But seconds later, a swarm of other officers are seen moving in to arrest Perry.
"God gifts us with the ability to step in and do what we do for the sake of our community and our department,” said Crawford.
“I think it takes a calling, kind of like being a preacher, to do this job,” said Grimmett.
There were actually three officers who received the Medal of Valor for their actions. The third was not at Thursday’s ceremony because his wife was having a baby.
Perry survived the shooting and is being mentally evaluated to determine if he's fit to stand trial.