Security guard says he tried to prevent Home Depot shooting that killed Dallas cop

Elijah Lateef says he was doing his best to avert a deadly shooting that killed one and wounded two others, despite what a lawsuit against him and others claims

Elijah Lateef (CBS DFW)


A security guard working at a Dallas Home Depot last April when two officers were shot, one fatally wounded, has opened up about that tragic day amidst a lawsuit filed against him and several other parties by the families of the officers.

According to several published reports, the gunman, Armando Luis Juarez, shot at Dallas police officers Rogelio Santander and Crystal Almeida while they were reportedly escorting him from the Home Depot in northern Dallas. An off-duty officer was also injured. The three were admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas hospital, where the two police officers underwent surgeries but Santander died.

“I did everything legally possible to try and prevent what happened,” security guard Elijah Lateef explained to CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.

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Lateef was working alongside an off-duty Dallas police officer April 24, 2018 when Juarez entered, arising suspicion.

“The day of the shooting, Scott Painter -who is the loss prevention officer – he radioed the Dallas police officer and said ‘Hey I have a guy on camera. He’s carrying an orange painters bucket and he’s on camera stealing. Can you guys go ahead and confront him?’”

Lateef says as they approached Juarez he felt like “something ain’t right about this guy,” and his suspicion turned out to be correct when they took a can of mace off Juarez. That’s when the off-duty officer started patting him down.

When Santander and Almeida arrived, Painter went outside to check for outstanding warrants and discovered there was an active one out for Juarez.

Lateef says Juarez immediately shot at the officers. “I ducked and ran to my car,” he said.

Santander died from injuries sustained and Almeida and Painter were seriously injured.

READ MORE: Family demands answers after young Black man was fatally shot in the back by Walgreens’ security guard

Lateef, who has military training, says he grabbed his bulletproof vest and gun.

“I ran back in clearing the store, trying to help kids and adults get out of the store and I was actively looking for Mr. Juarez.”

Later that night, Juarez was apprehended and arrested.

Now Almeida’s and Santander’s families are suing Home Depot, Allied, Lateef and the off duty officer over negligence. Juarez is also included in the lawsuit, the report states.

“This is a systematic failure by many people,” said Scott Palmer, an attorney representing the victims’ families.

“Not only did they not conduct a proper pat down, but they didn’t warn the officers that they didn’t do that when they arrived,” said James Roberts, another attorney representing the victims’ families.