In less-than-surprising news, Dallas firefighter and paramedic Jesus Ventura, who in recent weeks has been accused of both bank robbery and waving a gun around in a firehouse, has been fired. Dallas-Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Joel Lavender says in a statement that the department's internal investigation into the allegations against Ventura ended in his termination.
Ventura's public troubles began on March 8, when police say he walked into Fire Station #45 with a holstered pistol, which at some point he took out and started waving around "in a reckless manner," as the police report puts it. Fellow firefighters and other witnesses moved in behind Ventura to take the gun. The gun went off, and Ventura fled. He was arrested March 15 at his home.
(DPD officials are now conducting their own internal investigation regarding the mechanics of that arrest; they're wondering why a cadre of officers from the Southwest Patrol Division came to arrest Ventura while Public Integrity was already working to secure his voluntary surrender, and why a Fox 4 crew just happened to be on the scene to catch the whole thing.)
After Ventura's release from jail, and while he was still on leave from the fire department, investigators say that on April 10 he walked into the Chase branch at 1881 Sylvan Ave. and told a clerk several times to "Give me all the money," while waving a black backpack at her. She complied, at which point he apparently peeled off a $20 and handed it back to her, with the words, "Here's a tip for you."
Police arrested Ventura a short time later at a nearby business, which he was also attempting to rob. Police recovered $1,900 in cash and the black backpack, but no weapon. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
DFR says there will be no further comment on Ventura, "due to pending criminal and federal investigations currently taking place."
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.