Work history of Grapevine officer involved in deadly shooting shows issues

The work history of the Grapevine police officer involved in a deadly and controversial shooting last month reveals discipline and training trouble in his work at another department.

Officer Robert Clark spent just over a year with the police department at D/FW Airport. He never made it out of his probationary status.

He was notified that he was being terminated, and then a few weeks later, he was permitted to resign. Six months after that, he was hired by Grapevine police. 

Clark was hired by the D/FW Airport police in September of 2012. Initial reports from training officers describe a punctual and enthusiastic officer, but one who struggled learning the job.

In his final weeks, Clark was assigned to Intensive Remedial Training. Training officers wrote that he "does not fully understand the basic elements of a crime," citing "interviewing and investigation deficiencies."

Officers also wrote that he "needs to continue working on his accident investigation and other officer safety skills."

A female trainer wrote that he got "overtly upset" with her and told her, "I hope you don't take this wrong but I really learn better with men."

At one point, Clark took his gun into the jail -- a serious breach in safety policy.

A formal charge letter was sent to Clark in August of 2013, citing Clark for failing to notify the department that he had an off-duty job as a security officer at the Euless apartment where he lived and a complaint alleging "off-duty misconduct at a City of Euless park."

The charge letter noted that Euless police said, "there were multiple reports with your name."

The incident in the park prompted a formal complaint by a man whose dog had an altercation with a dog owned by Clark's girlfriend.

Peter Lewis stated that any angry Clark repeatedly told him he was a police officer and demanded "that I needed to bring him $5000" and that Lewis come to a vet's office "and sign an open ended credit application ... or he would go fie a vicious dog warrant and have my dog seized and put down."

Not long afterward, there was an email exchange between DFW's Chief and Assistant Chief of Police.

An email from Assistant Chief Shaun Short said, "Gun in jail. Enough of an a** that someone came in and did a written complaint. A lot of poor judgement in the 2-3 mos out of the academy. He's too new to be this much trouble."

In August of 2013, Clark got an "Action Letter," notifying him that "the appropriate course of action is to terminate you." But, instead he was allowed to resign.

His formal resignation letter was submitted in October. 

Around 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 20, Clark tried to stop Ruben Garcia-Villalpando for a traffic violation. There was a short chase that ended on the Hwy. 121 service road.

A passing motorist recorded video before the shooting that appears to show Clark with his weapon drawn and Garcia-Villalpando with his hands on his head.

Grapevine police say that while Garcia did have his hands on his head, he refused commands to halt and kept advancing. He was shot twice outside the view of the dash camera.

The shooting happened in Euless and is now being investigated by Euless detectives.

FOX 4 spoke briefly by telephone on Monday with Clark's lawyer, Lance Wyatt.

He said he was not prepared to comment on documents released by D/FW Airport, but may do so Tuesday.

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