Doug Tull ran to Pekers after being shot in the chest and remains in fair condition at Parkland Hospital
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
A 49-year-old Oak Lawn resident was shot during a robbery early Monday morning, Aug. 30, when he was walking alone in his neighborhood. Doug Tull is recovering at Parkland Hospital following surgery to repair damage from the gunshot wound to his upper abdomen.
Frank Holland, the owner of the bar Pekers, was in his bar when Tull entered at about 1 a.m.
“He walked in the door and said, ‘Help, I’ve been stabbed,’” Holland said.
He said his business partner Ron Nelson ran behind the bar and called 9-1-1.
Nelson said he thought Tull was kidding until he saw the blood.
“Before he [Nelson] hung up, there were two police cars here,” Holland said. But ambulance response was much slower. Holland caught the entire incident on camera and said it took 6½ minutes for the emergency vehicle to arrive.
A witness who asked not to be identified saw the shooting from his apartment.
“I was sitting out on my porch,” he said. “Doug crossed Shelby and Brown walking toward Oak Lawn.”
He heard the confrontation but was too far to help stop it.
He said he heard Tull yell, “I don’t have any money” and then a shot and called police.
So when Tull arrived at Pekers, the police were already on their way to the area.
Tull said that he was walking toward Oak Lawn Avenue and a car pulled up from behind him. He said it stopped about five feet in front of him. Two young men got out of the car.
“I kept walking. They were pointing at something as if looking at a building,” he said. “I kept walking.”
He said when he realized something was wrong, he tried to run, but the assailants were too close and jumped him.
When they demanded money, Tull said he didn’t have any on him. They knocked him to the ground. One of the attackers went through his pockets, took his wallet and then shot him.
Tull thought he had been stabbed.
“I didn’t hear a gunshot,” he said. “I didn’t see a flash.”
Before they fled, Tull said he managed to pull a canister of mace from his pocket and spray one of the assailants.
Tull said the two attackers ran to the car waiting in the bank parking lot across the street, yelling, “Mace! Mace! Mace!”
Holland said he told the police that what he saw was a round puncture wound in Tull’s abdomen. He said the shooting must have been at point-blank range.
There was confusion at first about where the incident took place. The original police report said the shooting occurred at Shelby and Brown streets.
Tull later told police that he was attacked in front of the barbershop across Brown Street from the American National Bank parking lot.
Police were checking with the bank to see if their cameras recorded the incident and caught the license plate of the car. After the two attackers got out of the car, the driver pulled into the bank’s drive-through lane.
Tull identified the suspects as three black men in their early to mid-20s, driving an older four-door, gray Nissan Altima. They were dressed in white T-shirts and jeans and weighed about 150 pounds each.
After the attackers fled, Tull ran to Pekers less than a block away.
Tull was taken from the bar to Parkland Hospital where he was in intensive care for a day. Although the bullet entered his body directly under his heart, the only damage was to his stomach, liver and large and small intestines.
While operating, doctors were unable to find a bullet. Later x-rays found it lodged in his rectum. They said it may pass out of his body.
“Doctors can’t believe how fast I’m recovering,” Tull said from his hospital bed on Wednesday, Sept. 1.
The gunman was aiming down, he explained. The bullet shot at point blank range apparently ricocheted off of Tull’s sternum, which is why it did not exit his body. Although the incision made to repair his internal organs is more than six inches long, Tull was out of bed and walking by Wednesday. His right arm is bruised, he said, because the assailants were bouncing on his arm. He has a cut across his forehead but no other facial injuries.
On Wednesday, his friend Darwin Kopaska checked Tull’s mail. The parking garage manager at the Crescent sent Tull a check that one of his cashiers found in the parking lot. Tull confirmed that the check had been folded in his wallet.
Dallas Voice passed that information to police who are checking video at the Crescent parking garage to see if their cameras caught the assailants’ car.
Police detectives and LGBT police liaison Laura Martin are looking into the attack.
Tull said that no anti-gay epithets were shouted during the incident but police are not ruling out the possibility it was a hate crime.
While several other attacks have taken place near the Oak Lawn entertainment district recently, this is the first street shooting in awhile.
In May four men with baseball bats assaulted two men on Throckmorton Street near Congress Avenue. In 2008, Jimmy Lee Dean was beaten in a brutal attack just a block off the main Cedar Springs strip.
On April 16, 2007, Jose Landa was shot to death in a parking lot on Cedar Springs Road after stopping to get cash at the ATM on the street.
Police have warned people not to walk alone citing safety in numbers. However, when Jimmy Lee Dean was attacked, he was walking with Michael Robinson. The attack in May involved a couple walking together, and Jose Landa was with his wife and several friends.
Along with the incident report, police issued a neighborhood warning after the Tull attack. After the May baseball bat attack, police were criticized for not alerting the community sooner.
Apartment complexes in the area have not been as vigilant in passing along the warning. The witness said that management in his complex has remained silent on the attack.
In a separate incident, a jogger found a man unconscious on the jogging trail along Turtle Creek Boulevard early Friday morning, Aug. 27.
At about 7:15 a.m. police were called to assist the injured Oak Lawn man. It was not apparent at the time what happened to Shawn Stumph, nor do police know how long he had been there.
He was found laying unconscious on the trail near Bowen Street. A section of the guardrail along a now-closed section of road is missing above where Stumph was found. The drop to the creek bed below is about 30 feet.
Police are not sure if Stumph fell or was pushed in an attack, but said his wallet was in his pocket when he was found and there was no sign of a struggle. Stumph was rushed to Parkland Hospital and remains in critical condition in intensive care. He has extensive head injuries and is not able to answer police questions.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 3, 2010.