A scar and a shotgun pellet in his shoulder are only the physical reminders for Hewitt police Officer Clint Brandon.
“When someone is trying to kill you, that’s not something you forget,” Brandon said. “But that’s my job.”
Brandon, who has served with the Hewitt Police Department for 17 months, recalled a Feb. 5 robbery at PointWest Bank.
Speaking publicly Thursday for the first time since the robbery, Brandon, 32, said he was working a call near the bank when the robbery was reported. About 15 seconds away, Brandon said he responded and immediately saw a pickup truck backed up to the bank’s entrance.
“I pulled in the back of the bank, circled around the front and I saw him coming around the front of the bank as I was pulling around,” Brandon said. “I couldn’t see his hands. I could just see a figure on the other side of the truck. He was wearing a hoodie. His hood was up, which I thought was kind of suspicious because it was kind of warm that day.”
Dallas Scott Bohanan, 25, has pleaded guilty to a federal bank robbery charge in the incident and faces a new state indictment charging him with shooting Brandon. The same grand jury that indicted Bohanan also cleared Brandon Wednesday of any criminal wrongdoing in firing at Bohanan.
Brandon said he ordered Bohanan to show his hands as he exited the bank, but Bohanan pulled out a firearm and shot multiple times at Brandon, forcing him to return fire.
“It was a little surreal,” he said. “It happens so quick that you don’t really have time to think about it. I just had to return fire and get to better cover, because he had me outgunned and he was shooting with better cover than I was.”
The two exchanged gunfire as Bohanan got into his truck and exited onto Hewitt Drive. Brandon said he reported the shots fired from inside his car and chased Bohanan.
“I was getting out a description of the license plate when he stopped on Hewitt Drive,” Brandon said. “That’s when he stepped out with a shotgun and started shooting at my windshield.”
Saying his first thoughts were, “Don’t die,” Brandon put his patrol car in reverse and tried to get distance between himself and the shooter.
“As soon as he stepped out, I knew what he was doing,” he said. “He wasn’t stepping out to give up. He was stepping out with a gun.”
Brandon was hit in the shoulder, and his patrol car suffered damage. Bohanan continued driving after firing the shotgun at Brandon about four times, and Brandon continued to chase him.
“More than anything else, I was focused on catching him, because with everything that had happened so far, I 100 percent believed it was going to end with somebody dying,” Brandon said. “He was either going to shoot it out and get killed or he was going to shoot and kill somebody else, or something like that. I felt like I needed to stay in it and help try and stop it.”
He did just that until other officers called him off to get him medical treatment while others continued the chase.
Police captured Bohanan after he crashed his truck in a Waco neighborhood.
“What would you call someone who puts their life on the line for the protection of their community? I would call that a hero,” Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin said. “He brings a servant attitude to the job, and it makes me proud to see the work he puts in every day and the furtherance of that service for the people of Hewitt.”
Bohanan pleaded guilty in U.S. Magistrate Court to two counts of bank robbery using a deadly weapon and three counts of discharging a firearm during the commission of a violent felony, which could land him in federal prison for up to 55 years. He was indicted Wednesday on felony state charges of aggravated assault of a public servant and evading detention.
Brandon, who said he wanted to be a rodeo star as a child, said he called his family from the ambulance. He returned to work about four weeks after the shooting after being cleared by an internal investigation.
He said being a police officer is his calling, and he is proud to work with the Hewitt Police Department.
“A department this size is a lot like a family,” Brandon said. “The support means a lot.”