CEDAR HILL (WFAA) — A female officer was critically burned and two others injured after a man set himself on fire in the parking lot of a Cedar Hill shopping center Wednesday afternoon.
According to witnesses, the suspect was shot by officers as he fled across the lot after he set himself ablaze inside a Wingstop. He was transported by ground ambulance to a nearby hospital in unknown condition.
A police spokesman said three officers in all were injured. The critically injured officer was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital by air ambulance and the conditions of the others were not disclosed.
According to Corky Brown, a spokesman with Cedar Hill police, officers were called to the shopping center, where there was a report of a man who smelled of gas..
Robert Gonzales said he witnessed the incident unfold. According to Gonzales, the female officer arrived at the scene and asked the suspect to put his hands up.
"He's not really stopping," he said. "He doesn't really care."
The witness said the officer then pulled out a Taser.
"That's when he starts threatening her," he said.
Gonzales said the suspect was carrying a plastic bottle that appeared to hold some type of accelerant. According to the witness, the suspect then took off on foot into the Wingstop as two other officers arrived at the scene.
Witnesses at the scene said the man yelled out, "I'm going to set myself and the restaurant on fire."
"Ten seconds into the Wingstop, you hear screaming," Gonzales said. "That's when the [suspect] left the Wingstop completely on fire. He looked like a human torch. He had no facial features."
Gonzales said officers fired at the suspect as he ran on fire across the parking lot. The witness said he and another person helped put out flames that engulfed the female officer.
"Her chest plate saved her," he said.
The Dallas County Sheriff's Department has taken the lead in the investigation.
Following the incident, Wingstop released a statement.
"We are deeply saddened by the reported events that took place in the parking lot outside a Cedar Hill Wingstop location today, and our thoughts are with the injured parties," the statement read. "At this time we have no additional information to provide, but we are working closely with the authorities in their investigation."