Share This Page

Detective, slaying suspect wounded in shootout

| Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 6:57 p.m.

SAGINAW, Texas — A police detective was seriously wounded on Tuesday when gunfire erupted as law enforcement officers tried to serve warrants on a suspect in the killing of a 6-year-old girl whose naked body was found in a tarp this month, authorities said.

The detective was part of a major crimes task force, which includes the FBI and several police departments, that went to the home in the girl's Saginaw neighborhood to serve arrest and search warrants, said Damon Ing, a Saginaw police detective. FBI spokeswoman Katherine Chaumont said the officers knocked and were confronted by an armed suspect who fired on them. One of the officers returned fire, striking the suspect, she said.

An Arlington police detective, Charles Lodatto, was shot in the groin. The bullet severed his femoral artery, said Dr. William Witham of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. He said officers and emergency personnel saved Lodatto's life by stopping the bleeding at the scene. He said Lodatto, who was Arlington's 2012 detective of the year, needs more surgeries but is expected to recover.

Authorities have not released the identity or condition of the suspect, who lives two doors down from the home where Alanna Gallagher lived with her family in the middle-class neighborhood of neat, one-story houses in Saginaw, a Fort Worth suburb. Matt Zavadsky, a spokesman with Fort Worth's MedStar Emergency Medical Services, indicated the suspect was shot in the head.

Two teenage boys found Alanna's body, bound, naked and wrapped in a tarp, on the night of July 1 on a street about a mile from her home. She had been playing outside her house that afternoon. Police have offered a $10,000 reward for information about Alanna's death.

Police also are trying to determine who set fire to a makeshift memorial for Alanna and torched a car owned by the girl's family that was parked in their driveway. The damage was discovered early Friday.

Purple ribbons and bows — placed in memory of the girl whose favorite color was purple — can be seen on mailboxes, trees, stop signs and elsewhere in the area.

Streets near the suspect's home were blocked Tuesday by yellow police tape and patrol vehicles. The tape was extended to light poles where purple ribbons had been tied shortly after the girl's body was found.

“It's been really heart-breaking for the neighborhood,” resident Lisa Arnold said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.