Dallas officer injured confronting car burglars in apartment garage

An off-duty Dallas police officer was hurt trying to stop three car burglars in her Downtown Dallas apartment building’s garage overnight.

The incident happened at the Arts Apartments on Ross Ave. just after 12:15 a.m. as Officer Gretchen Rocha was arriving home after her shift ended.

The officer pulled into the garage and was still in uniform as she saw the men breaking into another car in the garage. She confronted them and two of the three burglars ran away.

The third man jumped into a car and tried to drive away, running over the officer’s foot. He lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a pillar. The officer held him at gunpoint until other officers arrived on scene.  He has since been identified as 27-year-old Deontae Hall.

Officer Rocha kept Hall on scene until backup arrived. She refused an ambulance ride. Instead, she hopped in a squad car with another officer to the hospital. She was treated for a broken toe, but was otherwise unharmed.

A woman who lives in the apartment complex said she’s relieved to hear the officer is doing OK. She said there are several police officers who live in the complex and there have also been several other incidents in the parking garage.

“All times you have to be aware of your surroundings, you can't let people in behind you. Even with security, I have a key FOB, there are areas to get into our apartment,” said resident Patti Bradshaw. “It's unfortunate but you have to take all the precautions.”

Officers are grateful for her actions.

“That's what we're trying to explain to the public: we're always on duty,” said Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata. “What she did last night, officers do time and time again in this city.”

Rocha spoke to FOX 4 back in July 2016 after the Downtown Dallas police ambush that injured her and killed five police officers. Rocha, who had just gotten out of the police academy a few weeks earlier, was hit by shrapnel in the shootout. She drove Officer Michael Krol to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

At the time, Officer Rocha was eager to get back to work. Nearly two and a half years later, her actions are earning her praise again.

Dallas police say the car the arrested man drove was stolen. Hall faces charges of burglary of a motor vehicle, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and aggravated assault of a public servant.

Police are still searching for the other two men.