South Dallas quieter today after tense confrontation - Dallas News |

South Dallas quieter today after tense confrontation

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A group of south Dallas residents gathered for a prayer services Wednesday outside the Dixon Circle Missionary Baptist Church. But the mood was starkly different from a day earlier when hundreds filled the streets angry about the death of an unarmed drug suspect.

"Lord God we ask for healing for this family. We ask for the cohesive cooperation of this community," said Rev. Ron Wright.

On Tuesday officers were responding to a call about a kidnapping in the 5300 block of Borquin Street. The kidnapping turned out to be bogus, but officers saw a large amount of drugs and a gun in the house and saw suspects running away.

Officer Brian Rowden took off running after 31-year-old James Harper, leaping over three fences and fighting hand-to-hand. According to Chief David Brown, the suspect said, "You're going to have to kill me," and the officer, fearing for his life, shot Harper.

Neighbors and family members originally said they heard a different story that the officer shot an unarmed man in the back. And, as word spread, residents gathered in the street on Tuesday to confront a growing number of police.

Officers stayed in the area until late into the night. By dawn on Wednesday the neighborhood was quiet and the police show of force was gone.

Dewana Session, Harper's aunt, said the family has decided not to comment any further until all the facts of the investigation are available.

"At the end of the day everything will be exposed and we'll all know what really happened," she said.

Some of those facts are beginning to emerge. The medical examiner confirmed Harper was shot at least twice, but would not say where.

Police have not yet officially commented on the report. However, police sources told FOX 4 News Harper had bullet wounds on his stomach, upper torso and elbow. There were no entry or exit wounds on his back.

And the woman who called 911 because she saw Officer Rowden scuffling with Harper in her horse pin shared what she witnessed.

"I said a guy and a police is into it in my hard and while I was talking the gun went off," she said. "And then when I called they was over there. It was about 50 of them come and they got here with their guns. I say it's all over with, don't ya'll kill my horses."

Councilman Dwaine Caraway is calling for calm and understanding from both police and the neighborhood as the investigation proceeds.

"It offers a lot of concern, but we still have to wait on the investigation to match the stories with the reports," he said.

Councilwoman Carolyn Davis represents south Dallas. She said her message to those who are angry is to right now do nothing.

"Crime is down 37 percent in this neighborhood. Let's get the whole facts of the detail. Let's put it on silent mode for now until we get all the facts," she said.

For now the community will continue to pray for peace.

"We pray for the city. We pray for the community. In Jesus name we pray. Amen," Wright said.

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