DALLAS - A man was arrested Wednesday morning after intentionally crashing a truck into the side of the FOX 4 building in downtown Dallas.
Michael Chadwick Fry, 34, repeatedly rammed his Dodge Ram pickup into a side wall of the building on North Griffin Street around 6 a.m. He then got out and started ranting.
FOX4 photojournalists were able to film Fry placing numerous boxes filled with stacks of paper next to the building. The papers were also strewn across the sidewalk and street.
FOX 4 Reporter Brandon Todd watched him through a window.
“You could see the man’s pickup truck, the front of it clearly smashed. One of our employees told me he ran into the side of the building, backed up and then ran into it a second time,” he recalled. “When we went into the office we saw him. He was in the bed of his truck, and he was throwing boxes into the street and then just grabbing handfuls of paper and throwing handfuls of paper into the street as well.”
Brandon took out his cell phone and started recording Fry. When Fry realized he had an audience, he grabbed a few pieces of paper, slammed them up against the window and started pleading his case.
“Originally when he was in the bed of the truck he was yelling out ‘High treason! High treason!’ As he got over to the window, he was trying to explain something that involved the Denton County Sheriff’s Department,” Brandon said. “He is claiming that someone tried to kill him and ended up hitting a relative of his and so he was wanting justice, I think. But also at some point, he was saying, ‘And they’re coming for me. They’re coming after me trying to kill me.’”
Police poured on to the 400 block of North Griffin Street and began giving him commands. Video shows him having his hands up and then reach into his pocket to pull out an object that turned out to be a cellphone. The move is likely what caused police to react. Eventually, Fry followed commands and was taken into custody by officers.
A Dallas police spokesperson later said Fry appeared to be upset about an officer-involved shooting that happened in Denton County and that the flyers scattered along the south side of the building were "mostly rambling."
Fry also left behind a suspicious bright orange duffle bag. Dallas police set up a perimeter and investigated to ensure there was nothing dangerous inside. The bomb squad’s robot and explosive-sniffing dogs were used to check the bag and the truck.
“So our bomb squad was called out to check it out and make sure that there was nothing suspicious there,” said Officer Debra Webb with the Dallas Police Department. “So they cleared the bag. They checked his truck to make sure there was nothing in there. Then, they checked around the building to make sure there was nothing secondary around the building and they didn’t find anything.”
Most of the new stations’ personnel were evacuated by police while a handful of employees remained in a secure part of the building to keep the station on air during Good Day. After about three hours, employees were let back in the building.
“He knew there were sirens, and he knew he was going to get arrested,” Brandon Todd said. “In fact, he said at one point, ‘I know I'm going to get arrested. I know they're coming for me. And he came up to the window and said ‘I'm sorry. I'm sorry about all this. I tried to pick a time that was early so no one would get hurt.’”
Fry was taken into custody without any confrontation with the police. He initially was taken to the hospital for a mental evaluation and then taken to jail.
Fry has a lengthy criminal history that includes arrests for assault, disorderly conduct, public intoxication, DWI and burglary in Denton County. He now faces charges for felony criminal mischief.
The papers Fry scattered referenced his 2012 arrested in Denton County for a probation violation on a DWI conviction. He was the passenger in a vehicle when deputies shot and killed another man.
According to the Denton County Sheriff’s Department at the time, Roberto Carlos Hernandez drove towards a deputy and rammed the deputy’s vehicle. The deputy fired several shots, killing Hernandez.
While being taken into the Lew Sterrett Justice Center, Fry told reporters he crashed into the building because it was the only way to get everyone’s attention. He also said someone was trying to kill him.
“Please don't let anything happen to me! I have full coverage. Please don't let them punish me! I'm trying to stay alive,” Fry yelled as he was being taking into jail. “They committed a high treason against me, they were trying to kill me, and they missed and they killed Roberto Carlos Hernandez! Ever since, I've been running for my life! And I don't know what to do. I'm not smart enough. I'm not powerful enough. I don't have enough money. I'm mentally challenged. I tried to do what I could to demand questions… to be heard."
Fry did not make any threats against FOX 4. Instead, it seems he was looking for attention.
"I just wanted to summon the cavalry,” he said. “To get the power of the people and the media to do their job."
Fry was being held in jail on a $7,500 bond on the recent assault and resisting charges, but he was allowed to go free on his word that he would show up for court. However, court records show in the last 15 years of his criminal history that he failed to show up for court seven times.
Kim Knowler says she's known Fry since he was 12. She recognized his face during the news coverage of the crash. She lives just a stone’s throw from Fry's Bartonville home near Denton.
“He's been a trouble maker. It’s just the way he was,” she said. “I think every neighborhood has one. He was ours for sure.”
Enterprise Rent-A-Car confirmed that the truck used in the attack belongs to the company. Its spokesperson would not elaborate on whether Fry rented the truck or perhaps got it from someone else.