Garland, TX – Two police officers were wounded on Sunday by a man who hijacked a bus and engaged in a long shootout with police, and a picture taken afterwards showed just how close one Garland officer came to losing his life.
“This gunman was prepared for a shootout,” Garland Police Lieutenant Pedro Barineau told reporters, according to KXAS.
Surveillance video from inside the bus showed the incident began at about 9:30 a.m. on April 19 after 31-year-old Ramon Villagomez boarded at Spring Valley and Coit Road in Richardson.
Villagomez had come prepared to do battle with a handgun, four loaded magazines, and extra ammunition, KXAS reported.
Police said the suspect rode the bus for 90 minutes as passengers came and went, and then at 11 a.m., he hijacked the bus and took the driver and one passenger hostage.
A witness called 911 and a Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) police officer tried to pull the bus over, KXAS reported.
Villagomez shot the DART officer and then forced the bus driver to lead officers from DART police, Dallas police, Richardson police, Rowlett police, Rockwall police, and Garland police on a chase.
The DART officer sustained a “non-life-threatening” wound.
Investigators said Villagomez fired more than 70 rounds at officers as he fled, KXAS reported.
A Garland police officer was shot during the pursuit in what the media also reported was a “non-life-threatening” gunshot wound.
But a picture of the officer’s wound shared on Facebook showed the bullet went through the collar of his uniform and tore through the flesh on the side of his face, very nearly killing him.
The pursuit came to an end after officers used spike strips to stop the bus along the President George Bush Turnpike, near Liberty Grove Road in Rowlett, KXAS reported.
Villagomez opened fire on officers again after the bus stopped, and was fatally shot by their return fire.
Police said officers from the DART police and Garland police fired at the suspect, KXAS reported.
Neither of the hostages were injured and family members later said that Villagomez had told them throughout the police chase that he wasn’t going to hurt them.
“We believe that this gunman was targeting police throughout this entire pursuit,” Lt. Barineau said. “We knew that this person was just trying to get away from the law, he did not want to go to jail.”
Police later learned that Villagomez was wanted for questioning about the San Antonio murder of his girlfriend, as well as for an aggravated assault near Houston, KXAS reported.
Eight police cars, an armed security vehicle, and one civilian’s vehicle were damaged by gunfire during the incident.