Officer John Glenn Chase

Officer John Glenn Chase

Dallas Police Department, Texas

End of Watch Saturday, January 23, 1988

John Glenn Chase

Officer John Glenn Chase was shot and killed by a man who seized his service revolver.

Officer Chase was preparing to issue a traffic ticket to the driver of a vehicle he stopped at 8:40 AM. A homeless man approached and seized the officer’s service revolver. As Officer Chase pleaded for his life, a crowd gathered and began to chant, "Shoot him! Shoot him again!" The attacker shot Officer Chase in the head. He turned and walked down the street, dangling the gun from his hand before two off-duty officers shot him.

Officer Chase had served with the Dallas Police Department for 2-1/2 years. He was survived by his wife, parents, and brother.


  • Age 25
  • Tour 2 years, 6 months
  • Badge 5231

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Officer's handgun
  • Offender Shot and killed

Most Recent Reflection

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Hello, I realized that I submitted to you, a rough draft of my reflection on Officer John Glenn Chase. Here is the final draft. I apologize for the mistake. David Butler

Officer John Glenn Chase
I still think about him from time to time. It just happens. Even though he was killed many years ago. I'll hear something on the news or the radio; it could be about police or it could be about the mentally ill .. and I'm back to the day he was killed, and his murderer. This anecdote is about both.
Maybe it's because it was a 'if I had just done this or that it differently' kind of day. I'm sharing this, at least this way, for the first time. Perhaps it will be cathartic. I'll find out. All names and events described here are true. Feel free to download it to read offline. Share if you wish. If you have comments or questions, feel free to ask.. Please be respectful. If you can't, just don't bother.

He was named, during the fervor and excitement of the ticket tape parades, after Colonel John Glenn Jr. Who was a United States Marine Corps aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962, he became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling it three times.
There existed, newly minted parents who were YUGE fans and obviously respected him greatly and wanted their son to be a namesake of such a hero. Their son was to become a hero in his own right. He lived until the end with the idea he wanted to make a difference and to assist in a realm of humanity that needed the skill set that he had.
I wondered if Astronaut Glenn knew about Officer Glenn. He didn't go by John, or John was John Glenn Chase. He was proud of his name. I didn't know him very well, as he had not been an officer that long. But what stands out the most about him,.was that if you came in eye contact with him, you got a smile. No matter who you were or when. He gave you that infectious smile.
We both worked downtown Dallas at the time. As many did, I had an off duty job I pulled at the McDonald's on Commerce St. Downtown was a mess. The crime rate was out of hand. The police chief was at odds with the predominantly liberal, police bashing city council. He was pleading for more officers. Instead the council spent money on a study that showed the crime rate was unbelievablely low. The results didn't mention that the people counted in the skewed study, included not only people who worked there, but also those who were driving or passing through downtown, making it bogus and serving the agenda of the city council. It was if the city council wanted mayhem.
Police Chief Billy Prince publicly accused the city council for the atmosphere of animosity towards the police that loomed over the city when Officer Chase was killed. He ended up resigning, and the police department changed their weapons policy.
When I first came in contact with the soon to be cop killer, Carl D. Williams, he was already at his wit's end, and tired. Tired of using his defective brain to survive in a world where nothing worked out for him. He had been kicked out of, rejected and abandoned by seemingly everybody. School, friends, family, hospitals, psychiatric wards, and shelters. Everything and everybody.
I was to take his liberty once more. Tossing someone in jail for trespassing was the government's way to tell someone that they are truly not welcome here. I would forbade him of this newly found cozy sleeping spot. For once, he thought, he could he get some rest. When I came in contact with him, my hand was on my baton or mace. If I had different tools, training and places to take him, would he not turn into a cop killer? It was me and people like me, that society used to control Williams. And he just wasn’t liking it.
He was difficult and complicated. Barred by the huge nearby Lamar St. Shelter, I drove him to another shelter, he was in handcuffs. He was soon booted out of there too. When I told him if I caught him again trespassing in buildings on my post, he would be placed in jail. He gave me that look on his face..not of anger, but rather it was as if I had forsaken him. That look.
It seemed inevitable you know, me arresting him. As I expected, he became quite angry and threatened me. All officers get threatened, and it's like, okie dokie, just get in line. But some threats are acted on. Another guy I had locked up, the day he got out of jail, came looking for me at the police station..wrong place, wrong time. But quite the ordeal.
Williams told me with all the hate and anger he could muster, when he got out, it my time, he was going to get me. Psychologist would call his anger and hatred toward me displacement or projection. His feelings toward me were created long before we came in contact.
Police dealing with the mentally ill who pose a threat to themselves or others, is something that will always be contentious. It's easy to critical for some, when you possess with a little bit of biased information. If you were not there, you will never be in possession of all the facts to render a unbiased opinion of what happened.
Nothing really is a random event I suspect. What appears senseless and chaotic to us is all part of something much bigger that we are unaware of. I don’t think evil is ever God’s will ever. God is love but I do believe that he uses us all when the opportunity is there. What was started in darkness and evil was ended by a man with the courage and training to end it.
Chase’s killing – which happened just nine days after another Dallas officer, James A. Joe, was fatally shot while off duty – rocked the city, years before the murder of five officers in July 2016 would do the same. But the year Chase was killed, the total of city and county officers kept climbing.
But back to that day...
I was able to get an officer who owed me a favor. Detective Michael Durst agreed to fill in my Saturday day shift at the McDonald's downtown, at what was supposed to be a beautiful day. But it wasn’t to be. Both the weather and the city would rear it's ugly head. Both in ways I didn’t expect.
I'm also a aircraft pilot and was long overdue on a promise to take a friend of mine flying. So it was all arranged. We took off from North Dallas airport that early Saturday morning, headed to anywhere we pleased. It was enjoyable. But soon, the winds became choppy. Then very gusty. We were being shakened and tossed around ever increasingly. I was wondering just how was this happening, as the weather briefing I received didn't indicate it. Then my passenger said the words I didn't want to hear. "I feel like I'm going to throw up”. Not good, as it was contagious, if she barfed,.I would just start barfing right along with her. Yep, time to head back. Not only it was becoming increasingly gusty, it was blowing crossways in relation to the small singular landing strip. Strong crosswinds can be challenging, but gusts exponentially increases the risks.As I got close to touching down, a gust tossed the plane up and off the strip. I throttled and proceeded to go around and try it again, and I changed my strategy. What bothered me the most was that I had a passenger with me. She asked me what was going on, what's wrong. I told her everything was fine. The second time, I came in fast, to help alleviate the effects of the strong gusty crosswinds. Luckily, I was flying a aerobatic plane that had more control abilities than one that wasn't. If I couldn't touch down and be able to stop before I ran out of pavement, I would have to fly to a larger airport,with much longer multi-directional-landing strips to land. But It worked though, Again, a wind gust wanted to thrust the plane up and over, but I forced the plane down on the small runway and managed to park it. I was pissed and shakened..No way would I take off with these weather conditions. What the hell happened. This is a leading reason of aircraft mishaps.
During one of the crapiest flight I've ever had, Carl D Williams was busy downtown. He went inside McDonald's and he tried to pick a fight with Durst, who promptly kicked him out. Outside, Williams noticed a better opportunity to carry out his mission..Across the street next to the parking lot, he noticed that Officer Chase was writing a traffic ticket to the driver of a car he had just pulled over. Williams tried to pick a fight with Officer Chase, who asked him to stand back, he'd help him when he was finished with the traffic stop. But Williams waited until the right second to attack Chase and gain control of Chase's weapon, a 44 magnum. At the time this weapon was permissible. The city dept. was slow to change to a more uniform weapons policy. An officer could carry a 38 special or larger caliber. A 44 magnum is a devastating weapon by all means. A cannon.
I can't speak as to why Chase decided to carry it..other than no officer expects to be shot by his own weapon. After a brief violent scuffle, Chase ended up on his knees, and Williams ended up with Chase's 44 magnum, pointing at Chase's head. Officer Chase did then what many would he knew Williams didn't just steal his weapon for the heck of it....Chase placed his hands together and pleaded with Williams not to shoot him. For the first time in his life perhaps, Williams had unparalleled power..even for a few moments. It was to be the happiest yet shortest time in his torturous and agonizing time of his life. It was soon to be all over, and he was going out in a blaze of glory.
All this happened quite quickly. The surge of power. Chase pleading for his life. The adjacent bus stop had people shouting "Shoot, shoot..shoot him!! " Williams reportedly smiled as he pulled the trigger on Chase's own weapon, the 44 magnum. It was a head shot. Chase's body ended up face down, and Williams started casually walking back towards McDonald's. Miscreants at the adjacent bus stop shouted for Williams to come back and shoot him again. Williams obliged..twice more. All three, head shots. The three loud booms of the 44 magnum were unmistakable and produced an eerie echo in the cavernous downtown sky scrapers. Except for those morons who were celebrating, hundreds of people ran from the carnage, making it difficult for Det. Durst to fight his way towards the sound of the shots. Making his way too, was an off-duty Sgt. working at a nearby bank. Williams wasn’t hard to spot; crazy looking dude, sauntering along by himself, with the world’s most powerful handgun. Williams made it across the street to the corner of the Federal Building. Durst made it directly across from him, using the newspaper boxes as cover. The Sgt. made it to the far side of Commerce, forming a triangle of all three. Williams squared off against Durst. Having a goofy look on his face, Williams maintained his gaze on Det.Durst. Both officers were yelling at Williams to drop the weapon. Even though it lasted only a few seconds, time slowed way down. Durst told me later that the gaze that Williams had on him, seem to last forever. The goofy smile disappeared, as Williams suddenly noticed the Sgt. who was white. Williams smiled again, then suddenly attempted to bring the 44 magnum to bare at the Sgt instead of Det. Durst. Both officers unleashed a barrage of bullets at and into William's body, knocking him back up against the Federal Court house building. He died instantly.
I believe at that point it was the killers way of having some kind of win. I will take what is most valuable to you, your life. Take you away from your young beautiful wife and your family. Lastly will leave you and the world with the lasting reminder of the fact I was here and I can and did, take your life.
Heading back home, I wished I had just stayed in bed. Or at least not have wasted the favor owed me by Durst by trading work days. My hands were still shaking and I was in a bad mood. It was supposed to be a good day. And it was anything but. It was going to get worse.
Driving to the Manor House on Commerce St., I would pass by McDonald. Besides, I wanted to say thanks to Detective Durst. If you picture the downtown skyline, the tallest building there, the one with running green lights was accross from McDonald's. And next to both was a large flat parking lot. A parking lot I walked through thousands of times, had arrests, chases and fights in.
Driving on through, I saw a bunch of police cars and uniforms accross from McDonald's. Not an unusual site downtown. But then I noticed the entire homicide squad, standing next to a body covered in a white sheet. Something is going on, I thought. Then I noticed a female officer I knew, off to herself, crying. Oh man. She saw me, and started to walk to my car. Who is it, (not 'was') Chase, she said, John Glenn. I wanted to get out of my car. But would only be in the way. I then found out it was Williams.
Was this a mentally deranged killer's only and last chance at power that had eluded him his entire life? It's the perfect deal. He's done and wants to end his life. He gets that God oh mighty, yet short-lived power. Direct it at the manifestation of much of his anguish. Then he gets his ticket cashed in. That's how it works. In this and many other scenarios like it.
At Chase's funeral, I ran into a old friend from school. It was very nice to see her and her newlywed husband. She seem to tap into the sorrow I was feeling at the time. I decided to break ranks and sit with them. Walking into the church, she asked me if I wanted a tissue. Of course not, I responded. But later during the sermon I had to take her up with her offer. More than once.
For Detective Durst and the Sergeant, it was what police depts call a 'Good Shoot' Both received rewards and their pictures in the papers. Both would be forever referred to as a decorated officer. Even when Detective Durst began to act out and act up, tarnishing his immaculate police career, kicked out then later arrested for domestic violence, he would be referred to as a decorated officer. No one will ever know exactly why he turned bad. Could it be, despite his insistence otherwise that he was just fine? Did he have times in which he awoke at night, like other officers, to see the man he shot to death sitting on the corner of the bed, asking why he had to be killed? Me? If I had just had the tools to handle Williams differently. If I just had not of traded with Durst..If I had just...

Officer John Glenn Chase
Dallas Police Department, Texas
End of Watch Saturday, January 23, 1988

David Butler retired
Dallas County Police

March 23, 2018

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