08/13/2007

3 dead, patrolman injured in Dallas freeway shooting

17-year veteran hospitalized in serious but stable condition

By ANABELLE GARAY
The Associated Press

DALLAS, Tex. — Two police officers responding to what they thought was a wreck on a downtown freeway early Sunday were caught in a shootout that killed three people and wounded a patrolman and another person, authorities said.

Dallas police identified the shooting victims as Robert Daniel Langston, 22, of Duncanville, and Jesus Reyes Terrazas Jr., 24, of Dallas. They had apparently stopped to render aid at an accident on a freeway by downtown Dallas.

A woman at Terrazas' home said the family was still grieving and declined to comment.

The suspect, Nick A. Salinas, 20, of Cedar Hill, killed himself with the shotgun used in the shootings, authorities said.

Police said they don't know why Salinas started shooting and probably never will.

"It appeared that each of these victims thought that they were providing roadside assistance to an accident victim when they were brutally shot without any motive that we know of," said Lt. Vernon Hale, a Dallas police spokesman.

A phone call made to Salinas' home Sunday evening went unanswered.

Witnesses told investigators they stopped to help a motorist on the side of Interstate 35 when someone inside the car shot at them. One witness left in his car after the shooter pointed a gun at him, police said.

One of those killed was part of a group of four who saw what they believed was an accident before officers arrived and turned around to help. Someone in the group returned fire when the shooting began, Hale said.

"Certainly I'm sure he was just trying to protect himself," he said.

Officers spotted two people lying on the side of the road and stopped to help, unaware of the shootout, police said. As one officer helped a person on the ground, his partner, Senior Cpl. Jerry Poston, was shot.

"No officers from the Dallas Police Department fired any shots that we know of," Hale said.

Poston, a 17-year veteran of the department, was hospitalized in serious but stable condition, police said. His family has asked that no information about him be released, said Lynette Wilkinson, a spokeswoman for Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Police identified the other wounded man as Barry David Smith, 30, of Fort Worth. Police said he was in serious but stable condition.

Poston's partner was not identified.

Detectives have recovered a shotgun from the scene, police said.

Southbound Intersate 35, where the shooting happened, was shut down for more than four hours, from 2:30 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. Sunday.

 

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