RICHARDSON, Texas - The Richardson Police Department is mourning the loss of an officer was shot and killed in the line of duty. A second man was also killed during a standoff at a Richardson apartment complex Wednesday night.
Richardson PD Chief Jimmy Spivey identified the fallen officer as 37-year-old Officer David Sherrard. He was a 13-year veteran of the force who leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.
A donation page has been set up for Sherrard's family by the Assist The Officer Foundation, with 100 percent of its proceeds going to the family. Their goal is to reach at least $50,000.
One of the groups that will help Sherrard's family is 'Guns and Hoses,' a non-profit that raises money for families of fallen officers. The executive director will deliver a $20,000 check to help the family.
“It’s a sad day for the Richardson Police Department. This is the first officer that has been killed in the line of duty in our department in our 63-year history. You can imagine the trauma that’s caused for our department,” Chief Spivey said at a press briefing Thursday morning.
Sherrard was a SWAT officer with intense training on how to handle the very situation he faced Wednesday evening.The chief described Officer Sherrard as a brave tenured police officer who died in service to his community.
Officers from Richardson and other departments gathered outside Medical City Plano where he was taken after the shooting Wednesday night. They could be seen comforting each other at times.
Later officers saluted as the fallen officer’s body was transferred to the Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office. They stood at attention and many had their lights flashing. The officer's body was draped with an American flag.
"The hearts and soul of Texas mourn with you. Your loss is a loss to all law enforcement and everyone in our great state. Texas will honor the lost officer with the dignity he deserves. May God rest his soul. And may his legacy live on in others' service, " Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted at the police department.
Chief Spivey said his department plans to be there for Sherrard ’s grieving family.
“We’re with them. They are our family. They have been our family and they will continue to be our family and we will continue to support them as long as it’s necessary,” he said.
Sherrard ’s wife, Nicole, shared her grief on social media and thanked the community for its support.
“Please pray for us!! I’m overwhelmed with texts and messages and FB comments. He was a very loved man by so many,” she said in part.
Leslie Cunningham, a friend of Nicole, says she understood the risks that came with his husband's job.
"She said it's very scary," Cunningham said. "'Whenever he leaves the house, I always kiss him and hug him because I never know what's going to happen. But he is strong, trained and equipped for this or he wouldn't be on the SWAT.'"
A Richardson patrol vehicle has been set aside to serve as a memorial to Officer Sherrard outside the department. The first two people to leave flowers were two women who work as crossing guards in Richardson.
They said as public safety employees they interact frequently with police officers so the loss feels very personal to them.
“So they’re kind of like our brothers and sisters and family and we are both mothers of first responders. So this really hits home and, you know, it’s just very upsetting,” Karen Yells said.
“I think that the community will come together on this as well and show their support,” Terri Mull added.
Diane Portner knew Officer Sherrard long before he became a Richardson police officer. She taught gifted students at Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary School in Dallas. Sherrard was one of her star pupils. Porter says she knew something was wrong while watching the news Wednesday night.
“Somehow in my heart, I just had a terrible sinking feeling that it was him,” she said.
Portner says she finds some comfort in her belief that Sherrard is now in Heaven.
“He's probably just up there smiling down,” she said. “It's kind of trite. They say that you're in a better place, and he is. I know that. I know that he’s in a better place.”
Police originally responded to calls about a disturbance at the Breckinridge Point Apartments on East Renner Road around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. When they arrived, 26-year-old Brandon De McCall opened fire and hit Officer Sherrard.
Sources told FOX 4 Sherrard was shot in the neck. He fell back out of the apartment and was aided by other officers. He was rushed to the hospital but died from his injuries.
Another man at the apartment complex, 30-year-old Rene Gamez, had already been shot when police arrived and later died. Police said he lived at the complex and knew the suspect. Neighbors say McCall had been to Gamez's apartment on several occasions, but their exact relationship is still unclear.
The shooting led to a five-hour long standoff as neighbors stood by and watched. One neighbor told FOX 4 she could hear the gunman yelling "I'm sorry" while he was barricaded and authorities were trying to negotiate with him.
Police said McCall continued shooting at random over the course of the standoff. SWAT officers negotiated with him and finally took him into custody around midnight.
Chief Spivey said so many Richardson officers were physically and emotionally involved in the fatal shooting that the investigation was turned over to the Plano Police Department.
“This is the hardest day we’ve ever had. We’re not doing well. But I will tell you this, this is a police department of professionals. And yes it is an emotionally trying, tragic day but they’re out there right now doing the things that they do best and serving this community,” he said.
The Plano Police Department is now leading the investigation. Investigators are still at the apartments where the shooting happened. Parts of the parking lot and several buildings in the apartment complex are still cordoned off so that officers can process the crime scene.
There is a third-story apartment window that is shattered and surrounded with what appears to be bullet holes. There were so many shots fired, it will likely take investigators a while to finish their job.
Public records show McCall has a history of drug arrests, including a drug possession arrest by Richardson PD in 2016. McCall pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge last October and received two years of probation.
Dallas police confirm McCall was previously taken to a medical facility for an evaluation last August. The spokesperson wouldn't share records with more info on what happened.
McCall's Facebook page doesn't suggest any hostility toward police. He appeared to be into bodybuilding and has a tattoo on his chest that says "Dying to Live" and "Living to Die" with his birth year.
McCall once lived at a home in Plano with family. His uncle said McCall stayed with them a few years ago for a couple of years until he was forced out. He said McCall was lazy. And despite their attempts to help him get jobs, he didn't take the opportunities.
McCall was booked into the Collin County jail Thursday morning on a charge of capital murder of a peace officer or fireman. He is on a suicide watch and is being held without bond.