Lakeside Village residents upset, say Rockwall police left dangerous situation too soon

ROCKWALL – Several residents of the Lakeside Village subdivision say many residents there are extremely upset with the way that Rockwall Police handled the arrest of a Mesquite man and Rockwall woman early Saturday morning after the suspect allegedly stole an AR-15 assault rifle, a large amount of ammunition and a laptop computer out of a resident’s vehicle the night before, resulting in a fight between a resident and the suspect.

Now they are demanding answers and want to know why the Rockwall Police Chief ordered at least seven police officers to leave the scene during the investigation, even though the man with the rifle and ammunition was still at large, with the potential to cause harm to the subdivision residents.

They also want to know why Rockwall Police allowed and perhaps even encouraged the father of the young man whose rifle was allegedly stolen to go into the home where the suspect was to retrieve the stolen items, since that act led to a fight between the father and alleged thief.

Lakeside Village is the subdivision on the lake, north of Saltgrass Steakhouse, with the many red, Spanish-style roofs.

According to resident Alexandra Harvey, the residents were told by officers at the scene that the Chief ordered officers to leave with the “violent, wanted felon barricaded in a town home with a stolen assault rifle and a large amount of ammunition.”

“This gross mis-judgement by Chief Mark Moeller left the Lakeside Village Community to defend itself,” she wrote in an email to The Rockwall News.

Resident John Mitchell added that the community is in an uproar because a lieutenant at the scene told him and several other residents that he was on the phone with “the chief” throughout the investigation and that the chief ordered the officers to leave the subdivision even though the man who had been caught stealing a rifle and ammunition was still on the loose after he ran from the scene of the crime. He said it was also rumored that the man was a felon and member of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang.

Rockwall Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Aaron McGrew confirmed in an email Tuesday that police officers did spend several hours in the subdivision Friday night and early Saturday morning searching for and eventually arresting 21-year-old Cody Lee Welborn, charging him with Theft of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon, Felony Theft (for the Laptop), Resisting Arrest and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

“He was also found to have an outstanding Parole Violation Warrant, which he was jailed on, as well,” wrote McGrew.

Residents and McGrew agreed the arrest was made in response to a 911 call made about 8:45 pm Friday night from a resident in the 4200 Block of Pompei Ct. after he witnessed someone burglarizing his truck and discovered his rifle and laptop were missing.

“The caller interrupted the burglary and the suspect ran from the location and into a nearby condominium,” wrote McGrew. “Officers at the location made several attempts to make contact with any individual in the condominium, but were unsuccessful.”

The address of the condo was 3932 Mediterranean St., which is the home of 20-year-old Regan Breanna Holder, who was also arrested with the man early Saturday morning.

But upset residents say there was much more to the story and claim police mishandled the situation badly.

“Around 9 pm Friday night, a man was caught stealing an AR-15 22 caliber assault rifle and apple lap out of a resident’s car,” wrote Harvey. “The resident chased the man into 3932 Mediterranean St. Rockwall PD responded and surrounded the town home. A SWAT team was also called to the location. Lights were observed going on and off in the town home, and the suspect’s girlfriend confirmed that he was inside. Rockwall PD surrounded the house til 2 am.”

“Rockwall PD Chief Mark Moeller, apparently deciding that it would be better to leave the community to defend itself, then ordered his officers and SWAT to leave the location,” she continued. “The Chief left the lakeside community to defend itself. All but the Rockwall PD Lieutenant and one officer stayed at the location.”

“Outraged,” Harvey added, “the resident whose son’s property was stolen was given consent to go inside 3932 (Mediterranean) with two of the three tenets to retrieve his son’s property. The resident made contact with the suspect and an altercation ensued. The Rockwall PD officer quickly made entry and took the suspect into custody.”

Harvey pointed out the Lieutenant allowed this unarmed man to enter the building where a violent armed felon was held up.

She said “If it were not for this brave enraged citizen, our community would have been left to defend itself against a violent felon armed with an assault rifle.”

Mitchell said that residents have complained to Rockwall Mayor David Sweet and the media and intend to learn why Chief Moeller ordered police officers to leave and why they allowed an unarmed subdivision resident to go inside the home where the suspect with the gun was, rather than doing so themselves.

Rockwall Police Public Information Officer Sgt. Jeff Welch told The Rockwall News yesterday that the “chief” who was on the phone with the lieutenant and possibly gave the order for officers to leave was more likely Assistant Police Chief Kurt Riggs rather than Chief Moeller.

“That would be standard protocol in situations like these,” he said.

Sgt. Welch promised he would try to get answers as soon as possible for upset Lakeside Village residents and would share them with The Rockwall News for a follow-up story.

By J.J. Smith


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14 Responses for “Lakeside Village residents upset, say Rockwall police left dangerous situation too soon”

  1. Hk says:

    Amen to ‘runnerman’ too!

  2. Hk says:

    Amen ‘Serve and Protect???’! There are so many robbery and burglary cases that go untouched in rockwall and it’s a shame. Especially for the amount of money that goes into the system. When there are 50-60,000 dollar vehicles stolen, or potentially deadly weapons stolen, they act like its not a big deal and there’s bigger crimes to worry about. 1) They’re paid to find those criminals and do that job! 2) With as many officers as there are in rockwall, you’d think someone can take care of most big crimes in rockwall cuz there is near as much as other county’s that manage to do better with the same size police force and even more crime, but they can’t because their too busy sticking their thumbs up each others butts that they cant protect people’s property, OR lives. Rockwall police is pathetic and we seriously need to reconsider why we even have a police force in rockwall anymore.

  3. runnerman says:

    Having spoken to people involved in this, the actions of RPD are inexcusable. Except for the two officers who defied orders to withdraw. As is typical of RPD ( sadly ), they immediately begin to hide under their desks. I am glad the Dallas officer who did enter the condo was able to escape with only a couple of bruises. I can only hope the citizens of Rockwall understand their police force has become more interested in passing out inspection sticker violations to soccer moms than gritty police work.

  4. Serve and Protect says:

    Concerned resident…you are right to a point. It should have been secured, but the boy was loading his vehicle and only ran back inside for a moment to get the rest of his things. Are you saying it is a rape victims fault for being raped if she left her front door unlocked?

  5. Concerned Resident says:

    Anyone want to address the root issue that put the local residents and the police in this dangerous situation ? Leaving an unsecured weapon and ammo in a car is the first crime.

    “the suspect allegedly stole an AR-15 assault rifle, a large amount of ammunition and a laptop computer out of a resident’s vehicle”

  6. Ali says:

    Looks like the residents of Lakeside Village will get their answer on Wed. Jan. 23rd. 2013

  7. Momma Bear says:

    Lets see…the “Felon” was seen breaking into a vehicle stealing a laptop & assalt rifle then was seen running into 3932 Mediterranean. The SWAT team is called, then Chief decides he wants to call it off? Are you kidding me??? What was not said here is that these young women are renters and have been entertaining this felon and other members of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang for weeks. Take a look at the calls that were made to the same address on New Years Eve! Its not the first (or the last) time the police were called regarding these menaces to society. Lakeside residents are left to protect themselves and that is wrong. What is wrong with this Chief?

  8. Ali says:

    Thank you “Serve and Protect????” for voicing your first hand account of the situation. I hope the views of the residents of Lakeside Village will force the community to take action against the poor decisions made by those who are charged with taking care of the people.

  9. Lakeside resident says:

    I can say that “serve and protect??? Is 100% right on the money! I was there also! In all of it! All you who are naysayers, let these events happen in your neighborhood! Would u feel safe?

  10. Serve and Protect??? says:

    I was a witness to the event from start to finish. In response to the second paragraph which states the police left while the suspect was “still at large”, I would not necessarily say he was “at large”. The “wanted felon” was passed out upstairs, possibly from an overdose. The citizen who had no choice but to gather his stolen property from the “wanted felon” came upon him passed out and sweating profusely. The citizen checked for a pulse and did not feel one. It was the citizen who called out that the “wanted felon” needed medical attention and for someone to call 911. (Since the police who are hired to serve and protect had already vacated the scene.) The citizen then rubbed the sternum of the “felon” which jolted him into action. He came up swinging and the citizen took him to the ground. This is when the one’s who are hired to serve and protect came in and used the stun gun on the “wanted felon” and the girlfriend and took them into custody. The article makes the police sound like they “got their man” when in fact it was the citizen who “got their man” for them. What kind of message does this send to the “wanted felon’s” of the world? I can steal. I can run and barricade myself in someone else’s home. The police can ask me to come out and talk. I will refuse. They will leave. I will sleep it off. In the morning I will take this assault rifle that is registered to a legal gun owner and shoot up the neighborhood or maybe sell it to an even bigger “felon” than myself.
    The police also allowed the young women who legally live and pay rent for this townhome to enter with the felon still inside armed and dangerous. The police are worried about one of their own being hurt? What about these young women? Thank God for the citizen who was NOT a coward and brave enough to enter with these young ladies and detain the “felon”.

  11. Scott M. says:

    I have no real knowledge of the situation, other than this article. With that being said, if they police were sure that there was a suspect holed up in this home, with a weapon, then yes pulling resources out seems extremely odd.

    I would be interested to know why that decision was made, were there other circumstances that would have caused our PD to believe that the suspect was gone, etc.

    I guess my point is this, on the surface, yes this story sounds odd, however, are there facts (I assume there are) that we don’t know that would make these actions more reasonable?

  12. Lakeside resident says:

    Hey Mr.Rockwall resident! Ill assure you that there were others on the ground who certainly know more about running felony warrants/search and seizure then apparently the command staff at RPD. If you know what you claim to know then You also know that when articles are done all the facts are not depicted! The lakeside community is not upset about them not making hard entry, but we are upset over them leaving altogether! You do not leave a known wanted violent felon held up with an armed assault rifle.

  13. This article expresses the viewpoint of several Lakeview Village residents who believe police mishandled the situation. That’s why we quoted them extensively. The writer is simply reporting what THEY think and said, not what he thinks. That’s what good reporters do.

  14. Rockwall resident says:

    Apparently you have no understanding of how the police work. Lights going on and off is not a reason officers can enter. The manner in which this is written shows me no matter what happened it wouldn’t have been right in your mind. Lets say the officers did enter and a fire fight broke out and the suspect was killed, or even worse an officer was killed. Your article would say why didnt they wait. They knew who he was and where he lived. It is apparent that you have no idea about police work, or even search and seizure, or even the constitution of the United States. It’s always easy to sit in you house away from all the crime and danger and criticize how someone else handled a situation.

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