A high-speed chase in Texas ended in the middle of a busy interstate when the police officer hit the fleeing suspect with a directed energy weapon.
According to the Garland, Texas police department, the chase began Tuesday afternoon after police responded to a Kohl’s department store following reports of a suspicious person.
A spokesperson for the Garland Police Department tells Global News that the two suspects were known to store employees, having previously hit other Kohl’s locations with thefts “that ranged in the thousands of dollars.”
Upon arriving at the Garland Kohl’s, police arrested one of the men, 49-year-old Jimmy Orlando Wheeler, inside the store after police say they discovered he was trying to make off with a bundle of stolen clothes worth over $2,000 US.
The second man, 38-year-old Clinton Lang, Jr., took off in a Ford F-150, prompting a multi-jurisdictional police pursuit involving Garland, Rowlett, and Rockwell, Texas police departments as well as the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“You could hear all the sirens, and from the moment I looked down the street, I knew it was a car chase,” Able Martinez, who witnessed the chase, told the NBC News affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Following a lengthy chase, Lang eventually abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot across Interstate 30.
As captured by a news helicopter overhead, a pursuing officer fires his Taser as Lang is crossing the eastbound lanes of I-30, causing Lang to collapse in the middle of the busy highway as cars travel past, and around, his prone body.
“I was just shocked, I was like ‘oh my God, this man’s going to die’ like, this is a busy highway right here,” Belanie Rancie, another witness, told NBC.
A previous report said the officer who fired the directed energy weapon was with the Garland Police Department, however a spokesperson for the department clarified that the officer was actually a Rockwell County sheriff’s deputy.
Lang was checked out by paramedics after being hit with the Taser before eventually being taken into police custody.
In a brief statement to local media, sheriff’s officials said they will conduct a routine use of force investigation as they would for any incident involving an officer’s use of force to apprehend a suspect.
Lang was charged with evading arrest, theft between $750 and $2,500, and two felony theft warrants out of Dallas County. Jimmy Orlando Wheeler, the man arrested at the Kohl’s location prior to the chase, was given a charge of theft with two or more previous convictions of theft of less than $2,500.
The Garland Police Department tells Global News that Wheeler is being held on $50,000 bond, while Lang is being held on $110,000 USD bond.