Aug. 20--Dallas police arrested a carjacking suspect Thursday afternoon after an hourlong chase that wound through Dallas highways and side streets -- and ended at a Dallas Love Field runway.
The mostly slow-speed chase ended about 3:25 p.m. when Dallas squad cars knocked the gray Chevrolet pickup off a runway and onto a grassy area at the airport. No one was injured.
The suspect was identified as Michael Laurence Browne, 46. Police suspect the Dallas man carjacked a woman in Fort Worth on Wednesday and may be responsible for as many as 10 crimes in the last several weeks.
Browne reached the Love Field runway after breaking through a fence at the airport.
Asked whether he was concerned about the apparently easy breach of perimeter security at the airport, Deputy Chief Jesse Reyes said, "At this point everything is under review."
Two runways were briefly closed Thursday, but few flights were affected, said Brad Hawkins, a spokesman for Southwest Airlines.
"It was a pretty contained event," Hawkins said, "and the time of day was fortunate because air traffic was relatively light."
Southwest had only nine planes on the ground at the time, and there were no major delays to inbound flights, Hawkins said.
Reyes, who heads the Police Department's north-central patrol division, said the situation began unfolding about 2:30 p.m. near Belt Line and Preston roads in North Dallas, when an undercover officer observed a suspicious vehicle.
The officer called in the pickup's license plate number, and it came back as stolen the day before in an aggravated robbery in Fort Worth.
The driver also fit a suspect description in another aggravated robbery reported earlier Thursday in Dallas that is thought to involve the same truck.
The undercover officer called for uniformed officers, and they attempted to make a felony stop in the 5700 block of Arapaho Road, but Browne fled.
The pursuit made its way up and down Central Expressway, onto Woodall Rodgers Freeway and to Harry Hines Boulevard, police said.
The truck was running on only three tires for several miles, as one tire was shredded during the chase. It was not known whether "stop sticks" deployed along the route damaged the tire.
At Love Field, Browne crashed through a fence and onto a runway.
Police struck Browne's vehicle with a squad car, causing it to spin out and ultimately come to a stop next to the runway.
As TV helicopters circled the airport, officers drew their guns before yanking the shirtless man from the vehicle and handcuffing him.
A knife, which police think was used in the Fort Worth robbery, was recovered in the pickup as well as additional property linking Browne to other robberies in Dallas and surrounding cities, police said.
Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that although perimeter security is a question for the Transportation Security Administration, all concerned agencies will examine the incident and see if there are issues that need to be addressed.
Luis Casanova, a TSA public affairs representative, said, "All airports have an approved security plan that includes measures to protect perimeter security."
The Dallas Police Department's chase policy, among the most restrictive in the nation, allows officers to chase only those suspected of violent felonies.
Reporters asked whether the chase violated the policy because it lasted so long, got into heavy traffic and ended when the suspect's truck was rammed.
Reyes said supervisors monitored the chase and authorized officers to continue because they had reason to believe the suspect was wanted for violent felonies.
He said they also authorized the officers to ram the truck to end the chase, which is not typically allowed, because of the potential threat to airplanes on the ground.
Reyes praised the officers involved for resolving a dangerous situation with no injuries.
The car crashed through a perimeter security gate and onto a runway at Southwest Florida Int'l Airport.
Palm Springs International has invested heavily in security. Last year it finished a $15 million security checkpoint where officials can check vehicles before they reach the airport terminal.
The driver drove the truck through a fence and onto an airport runway. The truck eventually tore through another fence, which remained wrapped around the vehicle as police stopped it.