Family says slain suspect was suicidal

November 24, 2009 8:01:38 AM PST
We have an update in the deadly shootout between an officer and a suspected sexual predator on the run. The officer was shot twice, his life saved by his bullet proof vest. The suspect was killed. The shootout happened inside a Dunkin' Donuts where there were reportedly customers and employees present. Between the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the Pasadena Police Department, there are now three independent investigations to determine if officers acted appropriately. It's standard procedure, but it is a procedure that the suspect's family hopes gets taken seriously.

At the Dunkin' Donuts in Pasadena, shattered windows have been boarded up and bullet holes covered with duct tape. All are reminders of the gunfire that erupted there Sunday evening, injuring one officer and killing a suspect.

However, one family says it was exactly the kind of violent scene they had warned law enforcement about.

"They were very careless in their arrests," said the suspect's father, William Terral, Sr.

The family of suspect William Terral said he had struggled with suicidal thoughts his whole life, but when he was charged last month with sexually assaulting three young relatives, all under the age of 11, Terral reportedly told his father there was no way he would get a fair trial and that he intended to kill himself.

"We love him and that wasn't what we wanted at all," said Terral Sr.

He says the family warned law enforcement he was prepared to die and capable of taking others down with him. When confronted by officers Sunday night, investigators say Terral pulled a gun, shooting one officer several times before he died.

"It wouldn't have mattered whether he was suicidal or not. He was a dangerous person and he needed to be taken into custody," said Alfredo Perez of the U.S. Marshal's Office.

U.S. Marshals was behind the efforts to capture Terral. They say his family provided very little information about their suspect, but they say everyone involved knew that he was dangerous and the approach would have been the same regardless.

The officer who was shot is identified as Joshua Ridings. He's been with the Pasadena Police Department since last summer. He was expected to be released from the hospital sometime Monday.

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