A Daily Conversation
About Dallas

Local News

Two Dallas Officers Have Been Shot in Lake Highlands, ‘Person of Interest’ At Large

| 17 mins ago

Dallas police are searching for a person of interest believed to have been involved in the shooting of two police officers and a loss prevention employee at a Home Depot in Lake Highlands.

During a press conference, Chief Reneé Hall said the two officers had been critically wounded and were being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. She declined to say anything further about their health status out of respect to their families. The person of interest is 29-year-old Armando Luis Juarez, whom Hall said “possibly” fled the scene in a white, extended cab pickup truck.

“We do believe he is armed at this time,” Hall said. “I do not have all the details for how he was able to get a gun and shoot all three … in that location.”

‘Person of Interest’ Armando Luis Juarez. (Courtesy: Dallas PD)

Police were called to the Home Depot at 4:12 p.m. by an off-duty Dallas officer who was at the store. Two officers responded. Shortly thereafter, Hall said, police received another call for assistance—the two responding officers had been shot, as well as the loss prevention employee. Around 4:15 p.m., police cars and SWAT vehicles were spotted speeding north on Central Expressway, along the shoulder to bypass traffic.

In the press conference, Mayor Mike Rawlings called the news a “very cursory update” and declined to give the status of any of the victims out of respect for the families. Hall said the family of one of the police officers had not yet arrived at Presbyterian.

“Right now, we believe he is armed. He is a person of interest,” Hall said. “So we are asking the community if you see him, if you know him, if you have any information relevant to who he is or where he is, that you would contact the Dallas Police Department.”

Rawlings said the department was unlikely to hold another press conference “unless there’s some big breaking news that we need to do face-to-face.” He promised to keep the public updated and carried a solemn tone.

“Once again, Dallas is at the precipice looking into the hell of heartbreak as our police department was attacked this afternoon,” he said.

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

Read More

Local News

VP Mike Pence to Speak at NRA Convention in Dallas

| 5 hours ago

VisitDallas, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, has a big couple weeks ahead.

The NFL Draft’s in town, kind of, this weekend, with the days-long bonanza set at the Death Star in Arlington. Which is fine, because despite the realities of municipal boundaries and city hotel taxes, VisitDallas identifies Arlington as part of “Far West Dallas” on a neighborhood map on its website. (Does the tourism office for the American Dream City know about this?)

But the more controversial and potentially bigger event is next weekend. The annual NRA convention is in Dallas, helped along by VisitDallas agreeing to pay most of the cost to rent out the convention center for the weekend. Today the convention got its headliner, Mike Pence. The vice president will address the convention on May 4, joining a just-announced lineup of speakers that also includes Gov. Greg Abbott and Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.

Mr. Vice President, football fans, gun lovers, protesters: welcome to Dallas. Enjoy your stay. Please see more of the city than the convention center, the stadium in Arlington, and Dealey Plaza.

Read More


Dallas’ Inability to Adopt Bikeshare May Have Worked Out as an Advantage

| 9 hours ago

City Lab has an interesting recent history of bikeshares in American cities—a history that, the site reminds us, is still relatively short:

It’s easy to forget how young and unformed this transportation mode is: The first modern municipal bikeshare, Paris’ Velib, launched in 2007, and the first programs in the U.S. appeared in 2010. In 2017, the field changed dramatically with the introduction of dockless equipment—primarily manufactured, distributed, and operated by Chinese companies—to U.S. markets.

Since then, cities have experimented with two models of bikeshare: docked systems, in which riders rent bikes from a specific location and return them to another dock; and the dock-less systems we have in Dallas, in which you can leave your rent-a-bike where ever you please (you can even get creative with it).

Both models come with their advantages and shortcomings. But looking into the future, what is the model that will work best? Which can meet the demand in car-oriented cities like Dallas to find new solutions to better way to navigate the city center, ease “last mile” trips on transit, or even push the city towards broader access to multi-modal transportation?

Read More


Reneé Hall Isn’t So Sure Dallas Is Ready for Her

| 13 hours ago

For the profile of U. Reneé Hall that she wrote for the May issue of D Magazine, Jamie Thompson first met the Dallas police chief in September. Jamie got to tag along with the chief and watch how she operated in the earliest weeks of her new job. We initially thought the story would run in January. But then complications got in the way. Jamie took on another project. There were some additional questions for the chief as she disbanded the vice unit and then became harder to gain access to. Jamie didn’t reconnect with Hall until several months later. In some ways, she encountered a changed woman. Hall’s time in Dallas had not gone without hiccups. There were questions about why it was taking so long for her to pass the exam that would allow her to wear a uniform. Hall said that her treatment in Dallas had so upset her mother that she hadn’t yet come to visit her daughter here.

The story went online today. Looking back, I’m glad we weren’t able to keep with our original plan to publish. The extra time brought into a focus a much more nuanced look at our new chief — a woman unafraid, as it turns out, to strike a pose.

Read More

Local News

Leading Off (4/24/18)

| 14 hours ago

Wild About Harry’s to Close. The hotdog-hating landlord of the 20-year-old Knox Street location is booting the beloved shop. It’ll close May 15, possibly sooner, and the WAH’s owners say they will look for a new location in Highland Park.

Man Shoots at Grand Prairie Cops, Then Is Killed. Cops responding to a welfare call near the Grand Prairie Ikea parking lot found a man in a car with an assault rifle. Gunfire was exchanged, and the man was later found dead (it’s not clear whether from his own hand or from shots fired by cops). Ikea shoppers were herded into the basement, and it sounds like they were a bit freaked.

Cowboys’ David Irving Accused of Domestic Violence. Irving’s Twitter account, apparently taken over by his girlfriend, Angela Sanchez, said that he’d failed drug tests and alleged “domestic vilance again.” Then, after Frisco police started investigating, Sanchez claimed they’d had only a verbal argument. Ugly deal

Read More

Politics & Government

Dallas Democrats Will Stay on the Ballot This Fall, Despite GOP Lawsuit

| 1 day ago

A GOP lawsuit that would have booted dozens of Dallas County Democrats off the ballot ahead of November’s general election has been dismissed. State District Judge Eric Moyé signed the order today.

The Dallas County Republican Party, under its new chair, Missey Shorey, filed the lawsuit in January, alleging that because local Democratic Chair Carol Donovan did not personally sign all of her party’s candidate applications, those 128 candidates were ineligible to run. The lawsuit was from the start a political move intended to rattle Democrats, even if it couldn’t loosen the party’s grip on most of Dallas County’s elected offices. It was at least partially successful on that front, the snafu providing yet another example of a party that can’t seem to get its act together.

Local Democrats took the opportunity to portray the lawsuit as a voter suppression ploy, a dirty trick from Republicans desperate to avoid a wipeout in the 2018 midterms. Donovan, the Dem chair who took the brunt of the criticism for the clerical error, beat off a primary challenge from lawyer Chris Hamilton in March.

According to the court order, Dallas County Republicans may still have to pay for legal fees associated with the lawsuit.

Read More


The PI Who Solved the Murder of Her SMU College Roommate

| 1 day ago

For the April issue of D Magazine, Mike Mooney wrote about the death of Jonathan Crews, shot in bed in his Coppell apartment in 2014. Crews’ girlfriend, Brenda Lazaro, the only other person in the apartment at the time, says that Crews pulled the trigger himself. But enough questions about the evening persist that the headline “Killer or Victim?” feels appropriate for Mooney’s story.

That story came about largely because of the efforts of Sheila Wysocki, a private investigator attached to the case. Mooney describes her like this:

Sheila Wysocki’s unusual path to working as a PI got her featured on 20/20 and in both People and the Washington Post. When she was a student at SMU in the mid-’80s, her roommate was raped and murdered. The case went unsolved until, 20 years later, living in Nashville, Tennessee, as a stay-at-home mom, Sheila had a vision about her roommate and decided to become an investigator. She started with background checks and cheating spouses and worked her way up to missing persons and murder. At her urging, after hundreds of calls to the Dallas Police Department, her roommate’s case was reopened, and the evidence was retested. The DNA matched a rapist who had been out on parole at the time of the murder.

Today, Sheila talks like a veteran detective, familiar with the unsettling details of far too many crime scenes. She works with a network of experts on everything from speech patterns to handwriting analysis. She’s 5-foot-5, with dark hair and glasses. She looks like a friend’s aunt or your kid’s teacher or that nice lady from church.

Great subject for a true crime podcast, right? The producers of the popular podcast Criminal thought so too, devoting two episodes to Wysocki this month. The first, “Cold Case,” covers Wysocki’s start as a PI, investigating the cold case murder of her college roommate at SMU. The second, “Shadowing Sheila,” goes deeper into her investigative work. I’m about halfway into the first episode, and it’s a pretty riveting listen. About as riveting as the feature from the April issue of D Magazine, which you can read here.

Read More

Local News

Leading Off (4/23/18)

| 2 days ago

Judge Will Rule Today If GOP Lawsuit Can Move Forward. The suit seeks to remove 127 Democrats from the November ballot because Dallas County Democrat Party chair Carol Donovan did not sign their candidate petitions. Lawyers are trying to get it dismissed because, among other things, GOP chair Missy Shorey didn’t have standing to file to begin with. Judge Eric Moyé will decide today.

Southwest Cancels 40 Flights For Engine Inspection. The cancellations happened yesterday and were apparently voluntary and not part of the FAA’s emergency airworthiness directive sent out on Friday.Very excited to be flying Southwest twice in the next two months.

Starplex is Now Dos Equis Pavilion. So I will have to go back to calling it “Starplex or whatever.”

City Council Will Vote Wednesday to Confederate Memorial Removal. The proposal as of now: tear down the memorial by City Hall and sell the statue of Robert E. Lee at auction. I am sure this will raise absolutely no controversy at all.

FC Dallas Remains Unbeaten. Second-half goals by Mauro Diaz and Maxi Urruti, both coming off the bench, gave FCD a 2-0 win over Philly. They’ve only given up three goals all season.

Read More


New EarBurner: Matt Tranchin Survived Southwest 1380. Now What?

| 4 days ago

Less than a half hour after takeoff, Matt Tranchin resigned himself to die. There was an explosion on the left side of the 737. Then there was the plunge, a drop that seemed to never stop. The oxygen masks fell in front of the passengers as flight attendants hurried to the 14th row. One of them began to cry and scream for help; a passenger’s torso had been sucked out of the plane.

Matt didn’t know all this at the time. He figured there was some sort of hole in the plane, and started thinking about how to get away from it. But the cabin was full, and then came the reaction from the flight attendant. He realized how serious this was, and that he was powerlessly stuck in his seat. He pulled out his phone and began texting his final goodbyes to his wife, his unborn child, and his parents. He was certain the plane would crash.

We now know what happened on Southwest 1380. A fan blade in one of the engines broke off due to metal fatigue. It tore through the engine and sent shrapnel into the wing before shattering one of the cabin windows. The plane, which was ascending at 32,500 feet when the explosion occurred, plunged 8,000 feet in two minutes. Over the next five minutes, it sank another 13,000 feet. It would land in Philadelphia 10 minutes later, guided by the supreme calm of pilot Tammie Jo Shults. We’ll surely learn more in the days and weeks to come—last night, the AP reported that Southwest had asked for more time to inspect its engine fan blades.

Matt is part of the D Magazine family. He is the head of a super PAC known as the Coalition of a New Dallas, which was started by D owner Wick Allison and operates out of the office. (The magazine and the PAC are separate operations.) Matt was headed to New York to learn best practices from organizers with the national March for Our Lives folks; he wanted to bring back some pointers for the young activists he’s been helping here.

After the landing, Matt called D editor Tim Rogers. He was almost ecstatic. He’d just cheated death. He told Tim about watching World War Z and remembering how Brad Pitt blew a hole in the fuselage of the plane to kill a bunch of zombies and survived by avoiding the blast site. He took some photos of the plane and made a quip about Final Destination. He gave a whole bunch of interviews, recounting the incident. He wound up on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times, alongside friend Marty Martinez, another D compatriot who sometimes helps us with social media. He took some criticism from the mob of internet bums who sniff out things to criticize and troll; Matt was in shock. Shame on anyone who would judge him in that state.

The Matt you hear in the interview below is a man who is reckoning with what he experienced. The jubilance of cheating death is gone. Now comes figuring out how to live with the fact that he did. There were 149 people aboard that plane, including Jennifer Riordan, the 43-year-old passenger who was fatally wounded. The news reports got their tick-tock of what happened; listen to Matt for the weight of what happens now.

Read More

Doing Good

Paul Quinn College President Named Among ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’

| 4 days ago

Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College in southern Dallas, today got a pretty swell accolade from Fortune magazine, which named him one of the “world’s 50 greatest leaders.” The magazine commends Sorrell, who has led the historically black college since 2007, for “giving Paul Quinn a bigger vision of itself.”

In 2007, when Sorrell started as president of Paul Quinn, a historically black college in Dallas, the institution was on the brink of being shut down. Founded in 1872 at the height of Reconstruction, the school was losing students, and the campus, which housed 15 abandoned buildings, was “closer to a garbage dump than a grocery store,” Sorrell says.

Sorrell quickly set about challenging perceptions, both external and internal, by giving Paul Quinn a bigger vision of itself. Under his leadership, the football field was turned into a farm. He solicited the school’s first-ever seven-figure gift from a donor and used it to raze that campus blight, and he emphasized the recruitment of students from out of state to expand what’s now a 500-plus-member student body.

He also took aim at problems that ail all of higher education—the cost, and the disconnect with what comes after. Paul Quinn is now a federally recognized work college; students get jobs with area companies, helping them to pay tuition and prepare for life postgraduation. Sorrell, who calls this the “new urban college model,” now plans to open Paul Quinn campuses nationwide.

Read More