FORT WORTH, Texas – A veteran Fort Worth officer trying to stop a robbery crew suspected of carrying out more than a dozen heists in the DFW area is “courageously fighting” for his life Friday after he was shot in the head.

Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said Officer Garrett Hull, a 17-year veteran of the department, was struck Thursday night near the Los Vaqueros sports bar. He said undercover units had “set up” one of the three suspects and interrupted a robbery that the crew was in the process of committing, CBS DFW reported.

“Family members are with him now and at his side. His friends and fellow officers here—his other family—are there to support him 110 percent,” Fitzgerald told reporters Friday at a hospital where Hull is listed as being in critical condition with, according to the chief, “serious medical issues.”

Police said the suspects were trying to flee the scene following an armed robbery. In the process, one of them opened fire and hit Hull. Other officers, in response, fired back and killed a member of the robbery crew.

Fort Worth officer

Officer Garrett Hull. (Fort Worth Police Department)

Fort Worth police arrested a female suspect at the scene. Moreover, they tracked down a male suspect later during a search of the neighborhood.

The two men were identified as Dacion Steptoe and Samuel Mayfield, and Fitzgerald said both were well known to authorities. The identity of the woman has not yet been released.

FWPD said Steptoe was the individual who opened fire on officers, and was the person killed during the gun battle.

Fitzgerald said, “Officers including Garrett did a fantastic job of discerning who the people were that were targets — and by targets I mean who were the actual offenders — and who were the citizens. In the midst of all that, exchanged gunfire.”

The owner of the bar, Victor Zepeda, told CBS DFW that the two male suspects were wearing masks and burst through the building’s front door, demanding wallets and cell phones from the customers inside.

“We were here and they just bum-rushed the bar, told us to hit the floor and had the guns out,” he said.

“When officers are tailing somebody or surveilling someone that are wanted for robberies like these that the ultimate concern is that, if they are seen going into a bar, the obvious bells and whistles that go off are ‘we don’t want them to hurt anybody inside of an establishment’ but we also don’t want to create a situation where we have hostages,” said Chief Fitzgerald. “In this case our officers, in my opinion, made the best decision possible in allowing them to come out and that’s when they approached them, and that’s when the gunfire erupted.”

The trio is believed to be behind at least 15 other robberies in the Fort Worth area and across northern Texas, during which they have shot three people, Fox 4 News reported.

Fitzgerald said Friday the number of robberies the crew has been connected to could rise. The chief praised the response of officers at the scene Thursday, including that of his critically injured officer.

“We had some phenomenal acts of courage while the scene was still active, and by active I mean they were still looking for offenders out in that area,” Fitzgerald said. “And they picked up our officer, as I call it load-and-go. Didn’t wait for an ambulance to get there. They put him in the police car and worked on him, you know, in the car.”

Fitzgerald described Hull as the “rock” of the criminal Intel Unit, where he works and that he has a wife and two children.

No bystanders were reported to have been injured during the incident and more than 100 officers have stopped into John Peter Smith Hospital to pray for Hull and his family, Fox 4 News reports.

“It’s not a fair tradeoff. It’s not a fair tradeoff at all. We have an officer fighting for his life right now for some guys that thought it was easy to go out and rob stores here in the city of Fort Worth and the North Texas region,” said Chief Fitzgerald. “I thank all the law enforcement out here and the great response we’re getting tell them that this isn’t what happens here. We’re not gonna allow that kind of behavior.”

“We get a lot of support from the citizens of Fort Worth,” Sgt. Chris Britt said.  “We want those citizens to pray for us, think about us, because we’ve got an officer right now that’s going to need it. We’ve got family of an officer that’s going to need it, and we’ve got a department that’s hurting quite a bit.”

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said, “As we all slept and as we go about our morning of getting up and going to work you have to remember that these young men and women, who are fighting for us, are going out so that we can go to work and sleep safely and sleep sound. They indeed are our heroes.”

Update:

Hull died Friday night, less than a day after he was was shot in the head when police confronted a group accused of robbing a bar.

He died of his injuries about 9:40 p.m. Friday, police said.

“We’ve lost a true hero,” Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald said shortly after midnight Saturday. “Someone that has dedicated more than one tour of service to this great city was senselessly killed by three known criminals, two of which are in custody now.”