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Motive Sought for Gunman's Police Station Attack

Motive Sought for Gunman's Police Station Attack

Patrick Gray Sharp is shown this undated hand out photo released by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010. McKinney police have identified Sharp as the man that opened fire on officers outside their police station in McKinney. (AP)

Associated Press

August 18, 2010

McKINNEY, Texas — A gunman who pulled into a suburban Dallas police station parking lot with a trailer loaded with explosives, set fire to his pickup truck, then started shooting at the building was apparently hoping for a massacre, police say.

In the end, only the gunman — identified by police as 29-year-old Patrick Gray Sharp — was killed.

Sharp died after a shootout with officers Tuesday morning. McKinney police Chief Doug Kowalski says it’s unclear whether he was killed by an officer’s bullet or one of his own.

It’s also unclear what his motive was.

“He had a plan. He was activating his plan. He was heavily armed,” Kowalski said. “He looked like he knew what he wanted to do. What we don’t know is why he wanted to do it.”

Sharp may have intended to lure people from the police station so that he could shoot at them from a field across the street where he had taken position, Kowalski said. He also may have intended to kill them by blowing up the trailer, he said.

The fire set off ammunition in the truck but failed to ignite the trailer, which was filled with wood chips, ammonium nitrate, gasoline and road flares, Kowalski said.

Investigators found an assault rifle, a shotgun and a handgun on Sharp. Kowalski said Sharp fired at least 100 rounds at the police station, and the chief counted at least 23 bullet strikes on the building.

The chief said Sharp was found dead after police fired an unknown number of rounds while pursuing him in a line of trees where Sharp had taken cover and into an open field near Collin College, which was on lockdown after the shooting.

Sharp’s roommate, Eric McClellan, told The Associated Press by phone that he was on vacation outside Texas when he received calls from state troopers and his stepfather telling him what happened. He said he was “still in shock” and that there was nothing about Sharp that would lead him to believe he would try to attack police.

“He was fine and dandy when I left Texas two days ago, and, all of a sudden, I get a phone call,” McClellan said. “There’s nothing I can say. He was a great guy, a good friend.”

McClellan said he was questioned about Sharp by police and couldn’t provide them with much information.

He said he and Sharp kept guns in their residence because they like sports shooting.

“We’re Texans,” he said. “We have the right to bear arms.”

McClellan said he was doing contract work for building wire manufacturer Encore Wire Corp. six years ago when he met Sharp, who was an employee of the company. They had been roommates for four years, he said.

Collin County records show Sharp and McClellan are co-owners of the home they shared near Anna, a town about 15 miles north of McKinney.

Authorities descended on the rural cluster of manufactured homes not long after news of the shooting broke, neighbors said. They were still there nearly 12 hours later, plainly visible after dusk through windows of the light-brown home with a large yard.

Investigators combed the property with bomb-sniffing dogs, and Kowalski said more weapons were found.

Sharp’s truck was backed up to the home the night before the attack and there was nothing noticeable behind it, said neighbor Randy Mullins.

“Everything seemed good last night,” Mullins said. “There was no noise, no nothing. The lights were on.”

Matt Payne, who witnessed some of the clash, told the AP he was on his way to work with his wife and 10-year-old son when they heard “this popping sound” while they waited at a red light near the police station. They drove in front of the station and saw the truck engulfed in flames before looking across the street and seeing a man in an open field in an olive-colored flak jacket and carrying what looked like a military-style rifle.

A campus police vehicle drove around a building and the man turned his weapon toward the officer’s car before gunfire broke out, Payne said.

“He was not hidden at all,” Payne said. “It was obvious that he intended to go and hurt people and wasn’t real concerned about whether he made it or not.”

Ed Leathers, Collin College’s police chief, said the gunman shot several times at a campus officer’s patrol car, but the officer was not struck.

Leathers said the officer, a veteran of more than 20 years of police work, was on a routine patrol when he came across the gunman. Several other campus officers were then dispatched to the scene, but none discharged their weapons, he said.

Associated Press writers Diana Heidgerd and Danny Robbins in Dallas contributed to this report.

  • Car6_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Good job officers!

  • Rrpd_car_max160_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Another case for "Always being Armed, and Always being Ready"

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    Well there is one you don't have to feed for 20 years on death row. He got what he wanted and God will judge him for his deeds.

  • Jeep-smiley-face_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    You have to be crazy or stupid to 'start shooting at a police station' and 'hope for a massacre'. At least as I understand a massacre to mean more than just yourself dead.

    Well done McKinney.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 5 years ago


    lrishcop1961 said it all and I agree.

  • 19jyucm2tzgez_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I wonder if this guy watched the terminator movie and got the idea from it. There was a scene where the terminator crashed into the police station and then shot it up. Obivously the man had some serious pyschological problems

  • P1010076_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    >>I'm still scratching my head on this one. Not your typical "suicide by cop" scenario. This guy
    >>came prepared to do as much harm as possible.

    Disgruntled, maybe? I'm very glad officers and civilians alike are safe...God knows what would've happened if that trailer did catch on fire.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Considering the circumstances, everything turned out as good as it could have. Sure would like to know what made this guy tick, though ......

  • Nado_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Some people just watch too many movies and live in a fantasy world

  • Police_link_badge_max50


    almost 5 years ago



  • Img_0933_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    It ended the way it should have, the POS is dead and the good guys went home safe after the shift.

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Wow, talk about bringing the fight to our doorstep. Earlier this year it was Hemet, Ca., then Chicago, now this.
    Riddle me this: Do we have the beginning of a trend here?

  • Le_sq90_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    Good to hear all officers went home that night; Good job officers!

  • Vpsomourningband_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    The ending the way we always want it to be: ...and all the LEOs went home that night to their families.

  • Img_0103_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    As I posted earlier, this poor Ba$tard wanted "Suicide By Cop". There is absolutely no way that he expected to perform an "Assult on Pct 13" senario and survive.

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