Grand Prairie officer praised for not shooting suspect

Grand Prairie's police chief said Monday one of his officers showed extraordinary restraint when he decided not to shoot a chase suspect who appeared to be pointing a gun.

It turns out there was no gun -- the suspect was holding a knife.

"I see him get out of the car and my first thought was I'm about to get shot because he's out of the car well before I am and he's already taken the stance and he's already pointing at me,” said Officer Jeff Payne.

From one view, someone might have assumed the suspect has a gun. But Payne's view was different.

"As I'm getting out of the car I'm looking at him and my first my eyes go straight to his hands and to me his hands looked empty."

Instead of pulling the trigger, Payne pushed the button on his duty belt that let his canine out of the SUV. The dog took it from there, taking the suspect down. 

Police later learned the suspect, Michael May, had a knife and a flashlight but no gun.

"I think it's important to look at this because it really highlights the challenging environment of policing and those split-second decisions that officers have to make,” said Grand Prairie PD Chief Steve Dye.

Dye said this video is a teaching moment for the public and police, and that his officer used incredible restraint.

"I think it's equally important that when we don't usually full force and we would've been justified to use that level of force that we highlight the actions of these officers that officer did an outstanding job he save that person's life,” Dye said.

Police believe the suspect may have wanted to be shot and killed by police.

"I'm glad I didn't,” Payne said. “I mean even though I would've been justified, it would've weighed on my heart having to have shoot somebody that didn't have a weapon. Even if I was justified in doing so, it's not something that we ever want to have to do."

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