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Dallas, Texas News

Fatal Shooting in South Dallas Leads to Arrest of Homeless Suspect with History of Mental Health Issues

Christopher Dale Peterson

On the afternoon of June 26, 2024, Dallas Police responded to reports of a shooting in the 2200 block of Lagow Street, close to Fair Park in South Dallas. Upon arrival, officers discovered 25-year-old Zachary Lawrence critically injured from gunshot wounds. He was transported by Dallas Fire-Rescue to a nearby hospital but succumbed to his injuries.

Following an investigation, authorities identified 61-year-old Christopher Dale Peterson as the alleged shooter. Peterson, described as homeless, was apprehended and subsequently charged with Murder. His bond has been set at $1 million, and as a condition of release, he is required to wear a GPS ankle monitor.

Further scrutiny into Peterson's background unveiled a troubling history of encounters with the law in Dallas County. Earlier this year, he faced multiple charges of Criminal Trespass at Parkland Hospital, incidents that were dismissed after he was deemed incompetent to stand trial.  According to the motion to dismiss prosecution, Peterson was released to "continue to fully engage in mental health services in the community".

In a separate incident last year, Peterson was arrested for assaulting a public servant at Parkland Hospital.  According to the report, Peterson struck a psychiatric technician in the face with his closed fist causing an injury. That case resulting in a guilty plea and a one-year sentence in county jail after initial concerns about his competency were resolved.   The last filing in the case was on June 10th when the Judge granted a motion by the District Attorney to vacate the incompetence ruling.  Unfortunately, just two weeks later, Robertson murdered Lawrence.  

Previous arrests include charges in 2022 for burglary of vehicles and in 2021 for assaulting another public servant.

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