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Domestic Violence Incident Involving Gunfire Led To Dallas Apartment Gas Explosion, Court Documents Show

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Court documents reveal a domestic violence incident led to last month's gas explosion at a Dallas apartment complex.

Phillip Dankins, 28, is facing seven counts of deadly conduct in connection with the blast at the Highland Hills Apartments.

An arrest warrant affidavit details a fight between Dankins and his girlfriend the night before the explosion.

She ran out of their apartment with their 8-month-old baby boy.

Another man spotted the pair and let them into his apartment because he was worried about them.

According to the court documents, Dankins came looking for them and pointed a gun at the man.

Phillip Dankins
Phillip Dankins mugshot (Dallas County Jail)

Even after the woman and baby left that apartment, investigators say Dankins came back at some point later that night and fired into the front door and side window of the man's unit, hitting the hose behind the stove.

Police say that caused the gas leak that ignited the next morning and injured seven people, including four firefighters.

Residents say Dankins may be to blame for the initial destruction, but the aftermath – bouncing between hotels and dealing with break-ins and damage to their vacant apartments – hasn't been handled well by property management.

"I'm just ready to get this over with," said Roshunda Tilley, who's lived at Highland Hills for four years. "Hopefully in two months when my lease is up, I'll find somewhere else for us to go."

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson tweeted about Dankins' arrest, saying "Domestic violence tears families apart. In this case, it also destroyed homes, displaced residents, and injured our firefighters. This shows why we must fight against this scourge. @DallasPD has a new domestic violence reduction plan, and we must ensure that it is implemented."

More than 100 people are still living in hotels right now, with the City of Dallas covering the cost. Their stays have been extended through Friday, Oct. 22nd.

Crews were finally able to restore gas service to the complex on Wednesday, but there is still more work to be done before residents can move back in.

The received this message Wednesday night from the Dallas Office of Emergency Management -

"Dear Resident, As indicated to you yesterday all needed repairs have been completed, inspected and passed by City Building inspectors. Atmos turned on the gas to the complex this afternoon. The next steps are for the plumbers to go into each unit and check the gas stoves to ensure they are in working condition. This process is expected to be completed by 3 PM tomorrow. . As such, we will be extending your stay for one additional night tomorrow, 10/21 with an expected check out of the hotel on Friday 10/22. We will let you know when all work is completed if you wish to return home tomorrow. We encourage you to please work with apartment management on any outstanding issues you have."

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