August 18, 2010 in Nation/World

Police bureau shootout ends in death of gunman

Trailer packed with flares, gas, fertilizer
Jessica Meyers Dallas Morning News
 
Associated Press photo

Authorities say Patrick Gray Sharp shot at officers in McKinney, Texas.
(Full-size photo)

MCKINNEY, Texas – A man seemingly bent on mass murder was shot and killed Tuesday after spraying the McKinney police headquarters with bullets.

Police say 29-year-old Patrick Gray Sharp drove his Ford F-150 pickup with an attached trailer to the station and set it on fire in an apparent attempt to draw people out of the building. The trailer held wood chips, roadside flares, gasoline, and ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the type used in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City. Heat from the fire in the trailer set off ammunition in the truck.

Witnesses say Sharp screamed into the building and started shooting. Officers returned fire as Sharp ran across the street into a woodsy area on Collin College grounds. He blasted more than 100 rounds at the building and broke 23 windows.

The public safety department, which also holds the administrative offices for McKinney fire and police, sits across the road from Collin College’s McKinney campus.

“He had a plan. He was activating his plan,” McKinney Police Chief Doug Kowalski said at an afternoon news conference at which he confirmed Sharp’s identity and talked about the unusual nature of the attack.

Sharp was killed 50 to 200 yards south of the police station. It was unclear whether he was shot by police or died from a self-inflicted wound. Kowalski said he appears to have acted alone, although police haven’t yet ruled out a conspiracy.

“We know the who, what, when, where. We don’t know the why,” Kowalski said. “I really think this is a clear-cut case of suicide by cop. The truck was registered to him. He wasn’t trying to keep anything secret.”

He called the incident “unprecedented” in his 33 years as an officer. “It doesn’t make sense to any of us,” he said. Sharp had no criminal record.

Kowalski said Sharp’s body was found with a .223 assault rifle, a .12-gauge shotgun, and a .45 semi-automatic pistol. He wore a blue carrier vest with extra rounds of ammunition. Kowalski called Sharp’s assembly a “sniper’s nest” of artillery.


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