Thursday, December 11, 2008

Shooting victim disappeared after calling 911

A man from South Arlington, Texas disappeared early Wednesday after telling a 911 operator that he was being followed by men who were shooting at him. The man, Jose Lira, 41, also pounded on a neighbor's door, asking her to call police.

Lira called 911 about 1:30 a.m. while he was driving toward his home. When officers arrived at the house, they found neither Lira nor his pursuers. "We don't know if he ran off, or they took him or what happened," Lt. Blake Miller, a police spokesman, said.

Evidence of a struggle was found at Lira's residence, Miller said. His wife and children were home; none was injured. Lira's cellphone was found and his vehicles were parked outside when officers arrived.

In the 911 call, Lira, speaking Spanish, identified himself and told the 911 operator that he was using a cellphone. The operator tried to determine his location while he told her about gunshots. In the background, popping sounds could be heard, as well as the sound of dogs barking. Lira told the operator that he was being followed home by four people with pistols riding in a car and a truck.

"My children are here," Lira said, apparently as he arrived home. As the 911 operator tried to get the address, the call was disconnected.

A neighbor said he heard dogs barking early Wednesday but heard no gunshots. Another said she heard a man screaming, and then a frantic knock at the door. Lira was yelling for someone to call the police, she said. "But he didn't say why he wanted us to call the police," the neighbor said. She did not open the door, she said, but someone called 911.

Lira is about 6 feet tall and weighs about 240 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Ben Lopez at 817-459-5373 or Crime Stoppers at 817- 469-8477. All tipsters can remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward up to $1,250. (info from the Star-Telegram)

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