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Surveillance camera captures plain clothes officer shooting robbery suspect as he reaches for gun

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Chase Rogers
The Dallas Morning News

An on-duty Dallas officer in plain clothes fired his handgun ”approximately” four times early Thursday morning at an armed man who allegedly was involved in a robbery of an illegal Oak Cliff game room and who reached for a gun during a struggle, police said.

A surveillance camera on a nearby business captured footage of the brief scuffle between Sr. Cpl. Ruben Martinez and 34-year-old Timothy James Jefferson, who later died from his injuries. Twenty minutes of 911 audio, body-camera footage and surveillance recording were released by police during a news conference Monday.

Police Chief Eddie García said the death on the morning of the Fourth of July was a tragedy for Martinez and Jefferson’s family and friends.

Three others were arrested in the incident.

Police received a 911 call about 1 a.m. from a person who described an ongoing robbery of an illegally operating game room in the 2900 block of South Lancaster Road. An audio recording of the call, played during the news conference, captured multiple people shouting. The caller was hushed while speaking.

“We’re being robbed,” the caller told the dispatcher, according to the recording.

The video then cuts to surveillance footage captured by a camera on a nearby business, showing people, including Jefferson, armed with what appear to be handguns while corralling others into a building. One armed man, whom police did not identify, can be seen pistol-whipping another man, the footage shows.

Responding to the robbery call, Martinez arrives in an unmarked Dodge sedan and parks near the nearby business with the surveillance cameras. Shortly after, a man identified as Jefferson is shown climbing over a fence into the business’ parking lot and sprinting around the corner and toward Martinez, the footage shows.

Jefferson appears to point his hand or raise an object — which police say was a handgun — at Martinez, who is exiting the sedan as Jefferson is running up.

Jefferson raises his arms toward the officer and drops an object, the footage shows. The two get into a brief struggle before several shots are heard and Jefferson collapses. Police say Jefferson reached out to grab the handgun, leading Martinez to shoot him.

García said the encounter was so short that Martinez, who was calling on Jefferson to get on the ground, did not have time to put on a ballistic vest equipped with a body-worn camera before the shooting.

Dallas released the footage four days after Jefferson died. The department’s general order is for such a video to be released within 72 hours of the incident. García has the discretion to withhold the release of any video related to a critical police-involved incident.

Footage captured by responding officers with body-worn cameras shows police scouring the area after the shooting and administering aid to Jefferson, who is blurred in the video and appears unresponsive.

Two people — 21-year-old Kyvarian Banks and 20-year-old Dominique Lee Bolin — are facing charges in connection with the alleged robbery of the game room, which García said has since been shut down.

Banks and Lee Bolin were held in Dallas County custody Monday on three counts of aggravated robbery. Banks faces two additional probation violation charges stemming from a previous aggravated robbery and evading arrest detention, records show.

Banks and Lee Bolin were held in lieu of bail totaling $650,000 and $45,000, respectively, records show. It was not immediately clear whether they had attorneys.

Police seized cash from Banks and located a bag of cash he dropped while running from officers, along with a handgun, García said. Officers found Lee Bolin in the game room parking lot before taking him into custody and seizing a handgun, the chief added.

A fourth person ran from the scene and evaded police Thursday morning. Detectives are working to identify them, García said.

Martinez, who has been with Dallas police since 2012, was placed on leave after the incident, as is typical following shootings involving officers. Kristin Lowman, a police spokesperson, said Monday that Martinez has since returned to duty.

The manager of the game room, identified by police as 38-year-old Mohammad Ghali, is facing a charge of keeping a gambling place, García said.

Dallas officers have shot and killed at least two people so far this year, the first of which was June 30 — four days before the Independence Day shooting.

In that incident, two officers fired shots at 34-year-old Cody Watkins, who was accused of family violence and who moved toward them with a knife in a wooded area of Far North Dallas, police said. Watkins was struck and taken to a hospital, where he died.

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