Tull recognized attackers when TV news broadcast their photos following their arrests for a June murder in Oak Cliff
DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
As Doug Tull recovers from what he hopes will be the final surgery he will have to endure after being shot in a robbery on an Oak Lawn street on Aug. 30, 2010, he said he is happy to know that the men who attacked him have finally been apprehended.
Last month, LaMarcus Mathis, 19, Don Williams, 17, and Robert Robertson, 24, were arrested for the murder of South Dallas convenience store owner Jin Ha.
Tull said he recognized Mathis as the man who shot him when he saw the suspect’s photo on television.
“I was watching the news,” he said of how he learned the three had been arrested. “It sent chills down my spine.”
Tull said that Williams is the person who participated in beating him during the attack last year, but he is not sure if Robertson was the getaway driver.
He said there was no doubt in his mind that Mathis and Robertson are the same two men who attacked him a year ago, and that he has worried ever since that they would continue attacking until someone was killed.
“I knew they’d do it again,” Tull said.
Tull also said that he knew the night he was shot that the suspects had committed such crimes before.
“They acted too experienced,” he said. “They knew exactly what they were doing.”
On Aug. 30, Tull was walking from his apartment on Throckmorton Street to Pekers, a bar on Oak Lawn Avenue. Two men stopped him on Brown Street demanding money. They took his wallet and beat him.
When Tull sprayed his attackers with mace, Mathis shot him then made his escape by running to a car driven by a third man, who had pulled into a nearby bank drive-through lane
Tull was able to make it to Pekers about a block away. Someone in a nearby apartment who saw the incident happen had already called police. Ron Nelson and Frank Holland, owners of Pekers, were at the bar, and as soon as they realized Tull was bleeding, Nelson called 9-1-1.
Tull was rushed by ambulance to Parkland Hospital where he had emergency surgery. He remained in the hospital almost six weeks and has since had two subsequent operations.
The bullet splintered his tailbone and Tull developed osteomyelitis, a bacterial bone infection from which he spent eight months at home recovering.
During that time, Tull said he heard little from Dallas police, who had no leads in the shooting. Police used a warrant to get the surveillance tapes from the nearby bank, but the tape did not clearly identify the car and the license plate on the car was unreadable.
A check from Tull’s wallet was found in the parking garage at The Crescent and returned to him by mail with a note. Crescent property managers made surveillance tapes from their property available to police when they learned that the check had been stolen in an armed robbery. But those tapes offered no evidence.
Jin Ha was murdered July 3 in her convenience store, located at the intersection of Illinois and Overton avenues in South Dallas. Robertson, who was driving the car seen in surveillance video, was arrested in Dallas three days later and charged with capital murder.
Robertson then tipped off police that Williams and Mathis had fled to Connecticut.
The two fugitives were arrested July 22 in Bridgeport, Conn., and both were extradited to Texas.
Williams and Mathis are being held in the Dallas County jail, with bail set at $1 million each, and both have been charged with capital murder.
Robertson told police that the two teenagers had been looking for someone to drive them around. A different car was involved in Tull’s shooting.
After Mathis and Williams were captured, Tull saw their pictures on TV news.
“My heart was racing,” he said. “I was so excited.”
Tull tried to contact the detective who investigated his case but didn’t receive a return phone call because that officer was out for knee surgery. Tull then contacted Dallas Voice who put the Dallas Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin in touch with him.
Martin contacted the detectives working on the Jin Ha case.
On Tuesday, Aug. 2, detectives visited Tull at home to have him identify Mathis and Williams as his attackers through pictures. He will be asked to pick them out of a police line up at a later time.
Police will do ballistics tests to link the bullet to Mathis’ gun.
Whether or not the same gun was used, Tull has no doubt about the identity of his attackers.
Aggravated assault will probably be added to the murder charges already pending against the two suspects, and Tull said he looked forward to facing them and testifying against them in court.
Tull will remain home to recover from his final surgery for two months. After taking eight months off from his job at Texas Instruments, he returned to work for just eight weeks before his final operation on July 28.
“My misery is ending,” Tull said, “But theirs is just beginning.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 5, 2011.