Dallas police officer killed by car while directing traffic at crash scene, department says
Updated on Saturday at 12:30 PM: Revised to include the suspect’s name.
A Dallas police officer was fatally hit by a car early Saturday while directing traffic, police said.
At around 1:45 a.m. on Saturday, Officer Mitchell Penton was helping at the scene of the accident on US Highway 75 north near Walnut Hill Lane when a black Kia Forte car driven by a 32-year-old man got into his patrol car banged, said the police. The impact resulted in the patrol car hitting Penton.
Penton died at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, police said.
The officer joined the department on February 6, 2019 and was assigned to the Northeast Patrol Division, the department said in a prepared statement.
He leaves a woman pregnant with their first child, Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association, told KXAS-TV (NBC5).
“Our hearts are heavy now,” said Police Chief Eddie Garcia. “This young officer had such a bright future ahead of him. We ask the ward to join us as we pray for the officer’s family. We want to extend this prayer to include the brave men and women of this great department. “
The driver of the Kia, identified by police as Phillip Mabry, was not injured. Police said Mabry was suspected of being drunk at the time of the crash and was arrested for manslaughtering a policeman for poisoning and a poisoning attack.
Penton’s emergency lights were on at the time of the crash, police said in a prepared statement. Witnesses told investigators that Mabry was traveling at high speed at the time.
Mabry was sent to Dallas County Jail on Saturday. No bail was listed on the prison website by noon and it was unclear whether Mabry had a lawyer.
Investigators interviewed a woman who was sitting in the passenger seat of the Kia. She was rushed to hospital because of trauma to her chest and a cut on her face, police said.
Tragic night for us. This is a small token of respect and admiration for a fallen brother and his family. Thank you to all Fire / EMS and to Baylor Medical Center for your tireless efforts. Take a rest, hero. We’ll take it from here. pic.twitter.com/Dxu0AO06a8
– Eddie Garcia (@DPDChiefGarcia) February 13, 2021
In a prepared statement, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the city mourned Penton’s loss on Saturday.
“He died way too young, but the measure of a life isn’t longevity, it’s what someone does with the time they have,” said Johnson. “This officer devoted his time to serving our great city in a naturally dangerous job. We are forever indebted to him and broken forever by this tragedy. I pray today for his family, friends and colleagues. I know our city will give them love and support as we seek justice. “
Governor Greg Abbott urged Texans to pray for Penton’s family and police colleagues.
“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the Dallas Police Department officer who was killed on duty this morning,” Abbott said in a written statement. “This terrible loss is a solemn reminder of the risks our courageous law enforcement officers face in serving and protecting our communities.”
Around 8 a.m. on Saturday, Garcia posted a video of officials and other staff lined up outside the hospital saluting as Penton’s body was carried under a US flag.
“A small token of respect and admiration for a fallen brother and his family,” Garcia tweeted. “Thank you to all Fire / EMS and to Baylor Medical Center for your tireless efforts. Take a rest, hero. We take it from here. “
Many other law enforcement agencies and officials from North Texas and across the state also used social media to offer their condolences.
“May the Lord bless the officer with everlasting peace and comfort his family and friends,” said Art Acevedo, police chief of Houston, on Twitter.
The men’s soccer team at Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma discovered on Facebook that Penton had played with the team.
“In our program, we always talk about our Hillcat family,” said men’s soccer coach Derek Larkin in a statement the program posted on Facebook. “Mitchell has shown what it really means to be a Hillcat through his hard work and dedication to our program. I will always remember his infectious smile and kind soul. He will forever be a part of the Hillcat Nation and our football family. “
Penton started playing football in Rogers State in 2011 and earned a bachelor’s degree in justice administration in 2015.
The last death on duty of a Dallas police officer occurred in July 2018 when Senior Cpl. Earl “Jamie” Givens was beaten and killed by a DWI suspect while accompanying the funeral procession through southeast Dallas for a colleague.