Detective, slaying suspect wounded in shootout
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.