By Holly Matkin and Sandy Malone
Waco, TX – Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Chad Walker died in the line of duty on Wednesday, five days after he was shot in the head and abdomen while trying to help a motorist.
“Before Trooper Walker could stop his patrol unit [the suspect] immediately emerged from the driver’s seat of the disabled vehicle armed with a handgun and fired multiple rounds at Trooper Walker through the patrol unit’s windshield,” the Texas DPS Officers Association said in a statement, KHOU reported.
The suspect then fled into the woods, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The wounded trooper was airlifted to Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Waco in critical condition, KHOU reported.
Authorities quickly identified the gunman and launched a manhunt.
Law enforcement issued a Blue Alert for 36-year-old DeArthur Pinson, Jr. on the morning of March 27.
Police said Pinson took a black backpack out of his vehicle and took off into the woods after he shot Trooper Walker, KTRK reported.
He was on the loose in the woods for several hours and law enforcement officers from multiple agencies used helicopters and dogs to search for the armed suspect.
Deputies found Pinson dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound near Mexia later on March 27, KHOU reported.
Pinson was sentenced to 10 years in prison for armed robbery in Houston County, the Palestine Herald reported in 2007.
He was also arrested by the Palestine Police Department for military desertion in 2003 while he was serving in the U.S. Army.
Texas DPS announced in a tweet on Monday afternoon that Trooper Walker would not survive his wounds and was being kept alive so that he could be an organ donor.
“This final sacrifice embodies Trooper Walker’s actions throughout his life and service as a Texas Highway Patrol Trooper,” his agency said in a Facebook post. “The Walker family is grateful for the continued support and prayers as they remain at Chad’s side.”
He was removed from life support on Wednesday, the DPS said in a Twitter update.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that DPS announces the passing of Trooper Chad Walker. Trooper Walker is a hero who bravely served his community. He died following injuries sustained while on patrol,” the agency said.
“A beloved father and husband, Trooper Walker was one of DPS’ finest. His dedication to duty and his selfless sacrifice, in both life and his death, will never be forgotten,” the DPS said.
Trooper Walker devoted 18 years of his life to his law enforcement career, the last six of which he spent serving the DPS, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He previously worked for the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, the Athens Police Department, the Groesbeck Police Department, and the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office.
Trooper Walker leaves behind his wife, his 15-year-old son, his 7-year-old twin daughters, and his two-month-old daughter.
A fundraising campaign established to help his family in the wake of their loss has raised over $230,000 so far.
“Our hearts are with the family and friends of Trooper Walker as they grieve his tragic death in the line of duty,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a press release on Wednesday. “Trooper Walker’s horrific murder is a solemn reminder of the dangers law enforcement officers face every day to keep our communities safe.”
Governor Abbott said Texans will always support law enforcement.
“We are indebted to the sacrifices that they make to serve and protect their fellow Texans,” the governor wrote. “To honor Trooper Walker and all officers across the Lone Star State, I am asking law enforcement to turn on their red and blue flashing lights for one minute tomorrow afternoon at one o’clock, and I urge my fellow Texans to stand with our police and support them as they work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.”
— Irving Police Dept. (@IrvingPD) April 1, 2021
Rest easy Trooper Walker, we have the watch from here. pic.twitter.com/S2SWxS76MG
— Lake Dallas Police (@LakeDallasPD) March 31, 2021
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13
Trooper Chad Walker was killed in the line of duty. He was a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice. He made this world better, and he will never be forgotten. https://t.co/JS34M5soVk pic.twitter.com/OpOlfyjQEN
— Texas DPS (@TxDPS) April 1, 2021
In honor of @TxDPS Trooper Chad Walker, TPD officers participated in a statewide tribute this afternoon. Governor Greg Abbott asked Texas law enforcement officers to turn on their emergency lights for one minute at 1 p.m. to honor Walker. pic.twitter.com/wpjr85BbsX
— Temple Police Dept (@TempleTXPolice) April 1, 2021
We stand with @TxDPS and all law enforcement officers in honor of Trooper Chad Walker. We thank him for his service and grieve for his family, friends and comrades. Today our lights shine for Trooper Walker. pic.twitter.com/bIl8mjCbn9
— Grapevine Police (@GrapevinePolice) April 1, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Chad Walker, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Chad Walker, your life mattered.