Police review ride-along program - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Police review ride-along program

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Fort Worth police are taking a closer look at the department's citizen ride-along program after a couple of burglary suspects were shot in a far north Fort Worth neighborhood.

The police department said citizens who are allowed to ride in squad cars are told specifically not to get out of the car except in certain circumstances.

But on Thursday a 31-year-old man riding with responding officers jumped out of the car and chased two 17-year-old burglary suspects in the 10000 block of Tulare Lane.

"We're going to look into why the citizen put himself in danger. That's something we don't encourage and so we're going to make sure that doesn't happen again," said Officer Cliff Miller with the Fort Worth Police Department.

Police said the citizen outran officers and grabbed on to the suspects' car. Then he stumbled.

That's when a concerned neighbor came outside with a gun and unloaded at least seven rounds into the suspects' car, striking the teenagers three times. One was shot in the leg and the hip and the other was hit in the arm.

Police said it appears his actions were justified.

"He had actually believed that this ride-along was an officer so in his mind he had a reasonable expectation that an officer was in imminent fear," Miller said.

Ultimately the suspects were caught and no one died.

The 17-year-olds have since been identified as Joseph Michael Ross and Levi Gouge. They are charged with burglary and evading police.

In theory the neighbor who shot them could face charges as well, but the likelihood of a grand jury in Tarrant County indicting him is not very high.

In a neighborhood that's been subjected to repeated break-ins, residents said they have to do what they have to do.

"The police can't be out here all the time, you know. We have to protect ourselves," said Billie McCulley.

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