A Homeless Vet Was Caught in the Crossfire During the Robbery of an Illegal Dice Game

Craig Watson had seen his share of hard times since leaving the military. The 51-year-old was homeless, chronically unemployed and isolated from his family, who live 1,000 miles away in Florida.

Still, things had been looking up as of late. He'd been in contact with the Veterans Administration, which was providing treatment and help looking for a job, and he was preparing to make the transition off the street and into permanent supportive housing.

"They were [working] to change his life," Dallas PD Major Jeff Cotner said at a press conference today. "It was a good change for him."

But then, Watson made what would turn out to be a fatal mistake: he waited for his bus at the DART stop in the 9500 block of Bruton Road.

That stop sits in front of a convenience store and a car wash in a particularly crime-plagued stretch of Bruton. A week earlier, a 22-year-old had been murdered at a gas station a couple of blocks to the east. At an apartment complex a couple of blocks in the other direction, a man started shooting an AK-47 in the general direction of a woman, causing "mass chaos," according to what witnesses told police.

On this particular night, there was an illegal dice game going on at the car wash. It'd been underway for a while when someone rolled up with a gun to rob the participants, shooting one of them in the leg in the process.

Watson wasn't hit by the first round of gunfire. The bullet that struck him came from the man who ran out of Adam's Food Store and opened fire on the fleeing robber's car as it drove away. Watson was taken to Baylor Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police don't yet have any suspects, but they do have a surveillance photo of a man in the convenience store that night they're calling a person of interest.

"We don't know whether or not if this is the one responsible for shooting at" the robbers, Dallas PD Major Jeff Cotner said at a press conference today. At this point, they just want to have a talk with him, assuming they can figure out who he is.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson