A 44-year-old man wanted for arson died overnight after being shot in the chest by a Des Moines policeman. Tracy White of Des Moines was wanted for torching an apartment building on Wednesday, but just before 11 o’clock last night folks in a northern Des Moines neighborhood called cops to say a man was “casing” homes to rob. Des Moines police sergeant Tony Steverson says it was White. Officer Phil Terrones arrived at the scene, and neighbors told him the burglar was in a dark-colored car sitting in front of the house. Terrones saw White sitting in the car. The policeman ordered White out of the car, but White started it instead. The cop and White then struggled. White drove off and dragged the policeman about half a block before the cop fell off and narrowly avoided being run over by the car’s rear wheels. Terrones ran back to his squad car and chased White, a chase that Polk County Deputies joined once it reached beyond the Des Moines city limits. White drove over stop sticks the deputies had deployed, then White hit another car and ended up in a ditch. The cop used his squad car to block White’s driver’s side door and ran around the front of White’s car. “As the passenger-side door opened, Officer Terrones was confronted with the barrel of a shotgun just inches away from his face,” says Steverson. “Officer Terrones, in fear of his life and with only milliseconds to react, used his off hand to push the barrel of the shotgun away from his face and ordered White to drop his gun and instinctively drew his weapon and fired one round, hitting White in the chest.” Steverson says Polk County Deputies helped subdue White, then helped render first aid until paramedics arrived. White was taken to a Des Moines hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Once he was pronounced dead, officers found White had a small handgun, shotgun shells and 22-caliber ammunition in his clothing, as well as a small baggie with a powdery substance. Steverson says they don’t know yet whether White was under the influence of alcohol or drugs last night. An autopsy’s being performed this morning. White is no stranger to cops in Des Moines and a warrant had been issued yesterday for that apartment fire. Steverson says the fire was apparently the result of a domestic dispute, and White was trying to burn down his girlfriend’s apartment. White’s criminal history includes possession of weapons, burglaries and drunken driving.
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