A Waco police officer was hospitalized after a suspected drug dealer ran the officer over with an SUV before the suspect was shot and killed by other officers Tuesday morning.

A Waco police drug enforcement unit and SWAT officers were attempting to serve a search warrant on the man in his vehicle near the intersection of North 23rd Street and Olive Avenue, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said. Shortly after 10:10 a.m., officers spotted the man in a white GMC Yukon and officers approached the suspect’s car.

“The suspect accelerated his vehicle, running down our officer in the middle of the roadway,” Swanton said. “The officer was pinned under that vehicle and other officers assisting fired shots at the single occupant of the vehicle, which was the driver of that car, and the suspect was hit.

“It took multiple officers at the scene to lift the vehicle off our injured officer.”

Officers were able to lift the SUV off the injured officer and immediately began rendering first aid. Emergency medical personnel responded and took the officer and suspect to Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center for medical treatment.

The officer, who police declined to identify, remained in critical but stable condition late Tuesday afternoon following surgery. Swanton said the suspect, whose name was not released by police, died at the hospital.

“There is an individual that made a choice this morning to intentionally run over a Waco police officer. That is an attempted capital murder,” Swanton said. “His hostile actions brought gunfire on himself.

“To the family of that suspect, we are sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, that suspect this morning made the conscious choice to attempt to kill a Waco police officer.”

Search warrant

Though the suspect’s immediate family was aware of his death, Swanton declined to release the suspect’s name, saying police did not believe “sufficient time has passed” for extended family to be made aware of the man’s death.

But according to the search warrant affidavit issued by 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother, police were searching a home in the 3200 block of North 24th Street and a vehicle registered to Kerry Bradley, 37, of Waco. A law enforcement official confirmed it was Bradley who was killed Tuesday morning.

The search warrant also included the search of a 2009 Dodge Charger and a 2005 GMC Yukon.

Police had conducted surveillance near the suspect’s home and suspected Bradley of distributing heroin for the past two months, the affidavit states. Bradley would agree to meet at a predetermined place in Waco for drug transactions and had at least two vehicles to use to meet people who bought drugs from him.

“Affiant has seen the suspect party driving both suspect vehicle #1 and suspect vehicle #2 during the course of this investigation,” the affidavit states. “Affiant knows through training and experience that drug dealers will drive multiple vehicles in an attempt to avoid detection by law enforcement officers.”

Waco police crime scene technicians, detectives, uniformed officers and several other nearby agencies responded to the North Waco neighborhood shortly after Tuesday’s incident in support of the wounded officer.

‘Positive direction’

Officers cleared the area Tuesday afternoon as Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt met with the officer and his family at the hospital.

“I’ve been with the family and with the officer and we are moving in a positive direction from where we were,” Holt said. “He was very critically injured at the scene and thanks to the quick care by the officers on the ground, fire department, all the surrounding agencies, and East Texas Medical Center for transporting him here as quick as they could ... I think we are very lucky as a community to have the community relationships we have.”

Holt said he’d be remiss not to thank the staff at Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Medical Center, all the first responders who helped following the incident, and community leaders that have reached out and shown an outpouring of support.

He said the ongoing investigation will be conducted with the Texas Rangers and that the injured officer has a long road to recovery ahead of him.

“We’re going to make sure the family has all the resources they need,” Holt said. “We’re reminded at a time like this what our officers do on a daily basis is a very dangerous job. They do it well and I’m lucky to represent them.”

Kristin Hoppa has been covering public safety and breaking news for the Tribune-Herald since January 2016. She worked in Northwest Missouri covering crime-related issues before her move to Central Texas. She is a University of Kansas graduate.

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