A Hunt County Sheriff’s Deputy came under fire while trying to make a traffic stop that turned into a high-speed chase. The sheriff says he wants people to see the dashcam video from the incident to show the kinds of threats officers face daily.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks says in more than 40 years as a lawman, there has never been a more dangerous time to serve and protect.
Dashcam video from the deputy's squad car showed just how quickly a traffic stop turned dangerous. He tried to pull the driver over just before midnight on Dec. 29 along State Highway 276, west of Quinlan.
As the deputy pulled up alongside the suspect, the window came down and the deputy backed off. Seconds later, shots ring out. The deputy never returned fire. He just followed while other agencies begin pursuing.
Sheriff Meeks released the video to show the real dangers of law enforcement even in rural communities.
“Any law enforcement officer is in danger where ever he's working,” he explained. “You're backup might be 20 miles away so you got to prepare yourself. You're not going to have any backup. You're going to be it."
The high-speed chase headed west on I-30 into Rockwall. The Cadillac driver fired multiple shots as officers use spikes strips to blow out his tires. He pulled into a gas station at I-30 and Dalrock Road where SWAT members eventually took him into custody.
Former Highland Park Police Chief Darrell Fant watched the video. Police say the driver of the Cadillac was 51-year-old Roberto Omar Vera Jr. He's been in and out of the criminal justice system for decades for forgery, theft, domestic violence, drug dealing, evading arrest and felony gun violations.
"He's a career criminal and, frankly, he didn't have much to lose,” Fant said. “I counted at least five shots without any return so there was incredible restraint by the officer."
In fact, Sheriff Meeks believes Vera was attempting suicide by cop.
"I've been doing this 41 years, and it's totally probably 90 percent more dangerous than when I first started in the law enforcement profession,” the sheriff said.
Vera is facing multiple charges ranging from evading arrest to aggravated assault against a public servant and unlawful possession of controlled substances. Records show this is the second time he's been caught and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
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