Police records reveal more about the repeat offender who shot an Arlington police officer during a drug raid.
22-year-old Vincent Hall died Tuesday in a shootout with police that left one officer with gunshot wounds and another with shrapnel injuries.
Records obtained by FOX 4 describe a previous violent encounter with police and raise serious questions about why Hall was out of prison so soon.
There is frustration with both of Arlington's police officer associations that a man they believe got out of prison way to early shot one of their officers. They believe laws need to change.
Soon after Arlington police say 22-year-old Vincent Hall shot an officer who was serving a warrant Tuesday, FOX 4 learned that Hall had just recently been released from prison for a previous violent crime against police without even serving half of his 3-year 9-month sentence.
"It's kind of like a slap in the face that we worked so hard to get this violent offender out of our community off our streets where he doesn't hurt anybody, and later he comes back and shoots our officers,” said Chris CeBallos with the Arlington Municipal Patrolman’s Association.
Court records describe the drug crime and violent struggle with three officers in January 2016 that sent Hall away to prison.
As officers questioned Hall for suspected drug use, he "grabbed the grip of Officer Smith's gun with one hand. Officer Smith was able to secure his gun." As Officer Bowden tried to block Hall, he "ran into Officer Bowden, knocking her to the ground… attempted to take her gun and taser."
As a third officer failed to stop Hall with a taser, Hall was "reaching for Officer Crow's gun" and then "shouted repeatedly, ‘Just kill me! Go ahead and shoot me!’" before running away. A nearby home surveillance camera shows him and one of the officers in pursuit.
“We were very lucky we didn't lose additional lives or have additional officers injured or killed,” CeBallos said.
The Tarrant County District Attorney's office says it was never told that Hall was back in Arlington. Police only learned from a tipster in September that Hall had access to guns and was back to drug dealing.
CeBallos says the department or community should be notified if a person with a history of violence against officers is released from prison early.
"At least let the officers know police departments know that these subjects are back in the neighborhood,” he said. “Because sometimes we may not know for months that they're back around and causing more problems."
The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office offered Hall a plea bargain agreement.
In an email, they explained:
“Based on the punishment ranges set by law, the defendant was probation-eligible for the 2016 charges filed for that incident. This plea agreement instead ensured that he was incarcerated for his crimes… A companion drug charge against hall carried the stiffer penalty. By including that charge in the guilty plea, we were able to secure the stricter sentence of 3 years in prison in addition to 9 months in state jail."
Former Dallas County prosecutor Toby Shook explains the plea bargain tool prosecutors use and why Hall was paroled early.
“At the time he pled guilty, apparently everyone agreed we're gonna assess him prison time, but nine months in the state jail would satisfy everyone to avoid trial,” he explained. “He wasn’t released the first time he could have been eligible. He was held back and then he finally was released. It looks like he served about 18 months total, which is about half of a three-year sentence — which is not unusual.”
Shook says part of Hall's early release is that from his arrest in Kentucky. Every day in jail is counted against the time assessed at punishment after a guilty verdict is rendered by a jury or a judge. In this case, a judge accepted his plea bargain and assessed his prison sentence.
What’s hard for a lot of people is why he wasn’t charged with assaulting an officer, a higher crime than attempting to take a weapon. Shook says it’s because none of the officers involved in the January 2106 incident said he tried to hit them, kick them or spit on them so no assault charges were filed.
The officers involved were consulted by the Tarrant County DA and agreed to the plea agreement before it was entered into and prison time handed down.