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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Manhunt forces lockdown on TR-Suspect found 2 days later in Euless hotel fatally wounded

Police+work+to+secure+TR+Campus+during+a+lockdown+issued+Nov.+27+at+10%3A14+a.m.+The+Tarrant+County+Sheriff%E2%80%99s+Office+warned+administrators+that+a+murder+suspect+had+fled+from+the+Criminal+Justice+Building+across+the+street+from+campus.+Photo+by+Alex+Bihm%2FThe+Collegian
Police work to secure TR Campus during a lockdown issued Nov. 27 at 10:14 a.m. The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office warned administrators that a murder suspect had fled from the Criminal Justice Building across the street from campus. Photo by Alex Bihm/The Collegian

By Rhiannon Saegert/managing editor

Police work to secure TR Campus during a lockdown issued Nov. 27 at 10:14 a.m. The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office warned administrators that a murder suspect had fled from the Criminal Justice Building across the street from campus. Photo by Alex Bihm/The Collegian
Police work to secure TR Campus during a lockdown issued Nov. 27 at 10:14 a.m. The Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office warned administrators that a murder suspect had fled from the Criminal Justice Building across the street from campus. Photo by Alex Bihm/The Collegian

TR Campus was on lockdown for about 45 minutes Nov. 27 while police searched for a murder suspect who left an office in the Tarrant County Criminal Justice Building across the street. The suspect died three days later.

David Matthew Merrill, 36, was told about 9 a.m. Nov. 27 he had an outstanding warrant on a murder charge when he fled, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Terry Grisham.

Euless Police Lt. Eric Starnes said police found Merrill in a Euless hotel room around 12:30 p.m. Nov. 29 with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He died at a local hospital about 3 a.m. Nov. 30.

TCC’s lockdown began at 10:14 a.m. when a Sheriff’s Office dispatcher contacted TCC and explained the situation.

A text message telling students to resume normal activities came out at 10:59 a.m. Vice Chancellor Reginald Gates said Fort Worth Police and the Sheriff’s Office told TCC the danger had passed.

“They decided to lift the lockdown,” he said.

Administrators referred questions to the Sheriff’s Office.

“This has been a police matter, not a TCC matter,” TR Campus president Tahita Fulkerson said.

During the lockdown, TCC stayed in contact with Grisham, who gave them updates as the search in downtown Fort Worth continued.

“They determined that he was not in the area of our campuses,” Gates said. “Because of the bank and the river area, they just wanted to be sure. It was just a precaution, but better safe than not if you know what I mean.”

Grisham said Merrill was never seen on TR Campus.

“We did not have a confirmed sighting by a law enforcement person anywhere but 200 Belknap [the address of the Criminal Justice Building],” he said.

Grisham said the search focused on followups with Merrill’s friends and family, places he had been and vehicles he had owned.

“I knew nothing of his whereabouts until I was contacted by the DA’s office, only after he attempted to take his life,” Grisham said. “I heard it all after the fact.”

TR philosophy professor Mark Anderson said the campus police were very efficient.

“The lockdown was just a precaution and pretty much painless,” he said.

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