After 41 shots, five years and one mistrial, former Garland police officer Patrick Wayne Tuter has received nine months probation for killing Michael Vincent Allen. He pleaded no contest yesterday to discharging a firearm in certain municipalities, a Class A misdemeanor.
A Dallas County grand jury indicted Tuter for manslaughter in 2013. At the time, he was the first Dallas County police officer indicted for shooting and killing a suspect in 17 years. In December, it ended in a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Tuter’s second trial was set to begin later this week.
Tuter’s and Allen’s lives became inextricably intertwined early in the morning of Aug. 31, 2012. At about 1 a.m., Tuter spotted Allen’s car and gave chase. Eventually, the officer cornered Allen — who was wanted by police for drug possession, assault and evading arrest — in a Mesquite cul-de-sac.
Tuter initially told investigators that he shot Allen because Allen tried to ram his way past Tuter’s squad car. That was false, according to the Garland Police Department.
Department investigators discovered that Tuter hit Allen’s car first, then fired at Allen 41 times, emptying his gun twice. Other officers were on the scene, but only Tuter fired. GPD fired Tuter, who’d been with the department for seven years, a month after the incident.
During Tuter’s December trial, prosecutors said he was a “rogue cop” who “acted desperately” when he killed Allen. Toby Shook, Tuter’s lead attorney and a former Dallas County assistant district attorney, said his client feared for his life, as well as those of his fellow officers.
“Anyone with an ounce of common sense, one ounce of common sense, knows Michael Allen was a danger to anyone he might have encountered, and he wasn’t going to stop for anyone,” Shook said in his closing argument.
By Stephen Young