March 11, 2009
Officer Down: Lieutenant Stuart J. Alexander
Officer Down: Lieutenant Stuart J. Alexander - [Corpus Christi, Texas]
Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
Lieutenant Stuart Alexander was intentionally struck and killed by a suspect while attempting to deploy stop sticks on SH 358 at 12:10 am. The suspect had just assaulted another officer at a disturbance call and was fleeing the area at the time.
The suspect was shot and wounded a short time later after ramming several police cars. Lieutenant Alexander was transported to Spohn Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Lieutenant Alexander had served with the agency for 20 years. He is survived by his wife and son.
Texas officer killed during pursuit; suspect is shot trying to run over other officers
Corpus Christi Caller-Times
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A 20-year police department veteran likely was setting out spikes to flatten the tires of a fleeing vehicle when it struck and killed him early Wednesday, police said.
Patrol Lt. Stuart Alexander was hit by an SUV about 12:10 a.m. in a grassy median along North Padre Island Drive between Bates and Agnes streets.
Alexander, 47, was taken by ambulance to Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial where he died soon after.
"The good people of Corpus Christi should be mourning today because a man who took an oath to protect me and everybody else in here lost his life last night doing that, doing exactly that," District Attorney Carlos Valdez said. "He made the ultimate sacrifice and gave up his life to protect me and to protect every single person in here."
Daniel Lee Lopez, 21, who police say was driving the SUV that killed Alexander, was shot two times by officers who said he rammed patrol cars and tried to run over officers. He is under guard in the intensive care unit of Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial where he is being treated for what police said were nonlife-threatening injuries.
If evidence indicates hitting Alexander was an intentional act, the district attorney's office will file capital murder charges, Valdez said. The reports from officers that Lopez rammed cars and tried to run them over could bring attempted capital murder charges, he said.
Capital murder carries only two punishment options - life in prison or the death penalty, he said.
The pursuit began at 11:53 p.m. Tuesday as officers searched for a vehicle involved in an unrelated disturbance in the 4200 block of West Teresa Street.
An officer had stopped a vehicle believed to involved in the disturbance. As he walked back to his car in the area around Bloomington Street, he noticed a green 2000 Ford Expedition speeding and saw the motorist commit several other traffic violations, so he stopped the vehicle, interim Police Chief Mike Walsh said.
Police said the motorist became agitated and that when the officer tried to detain him, the man punched the officer several times. After a brief struggle, the man got into the SUV and sped away, starting a pursuit through the Molina neighborhood that lasted several minutes, Walsh said.
During the pursuit, officers said the SUV intentionally rammed their patrol cars. The chase continued to North Padre Island Drive toward Interstate 37. The SUV, traveling about 70 or 80 mph, struck Alexander, who was standing outside his patrol car, Walsh said.
The motorist did not stop and exited on Leopard Street, then driving the wrong direction down a Crosstown Expressway access road.
Officers were told to use their cars to stop the pursuit and boxed in the SUV between Comanche and Lipan streets.
As officers tried to get the man out of the SUV, police said he rammed their patrol cars and tried to run over them. Two officers then fired three shots at the SUV, striking Lopez once in the upper chest, around the collarbone, and once in the arm.
Details about Lopez's condition were unavailable late Wednesday.
The officers who fired at Lopez have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure during the investigation of officer-involved shootings, Walsh said.
Cmdr. David Torres said investigators conducted 17 interviews during the first six hours of the investigation into Alexander's death and are processing two major crimes scenes.
"We are not even close to finishing this investigation," he said.
Six patrol cars were hit during the chase - two before Alexander was killed and four after, Walsh said.
Walsh said this is a tough time for the entire community, especially the police staff, who are trying to keep their focus on the investigation until it is complete.
"We don't do the memory of Stuart Alexander any good if we get too focused on the moment ... " Walsh said.