12/17/2012

Chief's perspective: The Texas A&M shooting

The chief of police reviews the day of the shooting and the months of recovery

Editor's note: As we approach the New Year, we look back at some of 2012's biggest news stories, and reconnect with some of the officers and departments involved in the incidents to find out what has developed since, and how the department has faired in the days and months following.  

 

In this article, Chief Jeff Capps looks back at the Texas A&M shooting that occured in August, leaving an officer, a civilian, and the gunman dead, and several more wounded after an officer arrived at a home near the college campus to deliver an eviction notice, and was shot from inside the home. 

By Jeff Capps, Chief of Police
College Station Police Department

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — August 13, 2012, is a day that will not be forgotten in College Station. At approximately 12:11 PM, our communications center at the College Station Police Department, received the first in a series of 911 calls related to active shooting occurring in the 200 block of Fidelity Street. 

The first caller relayed to the communications officer that a Brazos County Constable, later identified as 41-year-old Brian Bachman, had just been shot. 

While on the phone with the 911 operator, additional shots were fired by the suspect striking the caller’s girlfriend twice in the back. Moments later, 51-year-old Chris Northcliff was fatally shot and killed by the suspect. Our first two officers arrived on scene at 12:14 PM. As they made their way to the front yard area of the suspect’s residence, they observed Constable Bachman lying on his back motionless. They immediately began taking fire from the suspect who was armed with a Glock .40 caliber pistol, a SA vz. 58 assault rifle and a Dragunov 7.62 mm sniper rifle. 

Officer Brad Smith from our agency drew the most fire from the suspect and was pinned down while taking cover behind a vehicle parked directly in front of the suspect’s residence. Officer Chad Jones returned fire while taking cover from behind another parked vehicle just west of the suspect’s residence. 

At approximately 12:18 PM, Officers Phil Dorsett and Justin Oehlke arrived on scene and began approaching from the west. Officer Oehlke was on scene less than a minute when he was struck in the lower leg by a sniper round, while taking cover behind a parked vehicle approximately 130 yards from the suspect’s location. Two of our SWAT officers arrived on scene at approximately 12:25 PM, and began approaching from the east as the gun battle between our officers and the suspect continued. 

At 12:34 PM, our two SWAT officers had positioned themselves so they were able to stop the threat by returning fire and killing the suspect. 

The suspect was identified a short time later as Thomas Caffall III. 

Our officers and emergency medical personnel immediately began offering care to all who had been shot. The shooting left both Constable Brian Bachman and a resident from College Station, Chris Northcliff, deceased. A Houston resident, Barbara Holdsworth was seriously wounded and our own Officer Oehlke is still recovering today from the gunshot wound he received. 

The days immediately following the event were extremely challenging for our staff as we grieved the loss of a fellow officer. Constable Bachman was a close friend of many of the officers from our department, and dealing with his loss and has been difficult. Our prayers continue to go out to his family as they continue today grieving the loss of a husband, a father, a son and loved one. 

I am pleased to report that our CSPD officers directly involved in the event have managed this crisis extremely well and all have been able to return to full duty with the exception of Officer Oehlke. It is our prayer that he will continue healing and be able to return to duty in the near future. 

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