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Family Hires Investigator To Look Into Tow Truck Driver Shooting

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - A family is taking the investigation into their son's death into their own hands and changes have been made at the South Oak Cliff apartment complex where the deadly shooting occurred last Thursday.

Management at The Flats at Five Mile Creek Apartment say they will no longer use the services of United Tow Company. This after last week's deadly shooting by a tow truck driver. A Dallas City Council Member says he is concerned about overly-aggressive tow truck operators.

The spokesperson for the complex, David Margulies, said the agreement with the tow truck company has been put on hold until further notice.

It was about 3 a.m. on February 5 when Lance Lemons was shot and killed by a tow truck driver who works for United Tow. A lawyer representing the company did not return our phone call.

Lance Lemons
Photo of Lance Lemons. The 27-year-old was shot and killed by a tow truck driver in Dallas. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Lemons, 27, was a juvenile probation officer for Dallas County.

Jeffrey Grant says Lemons was at the apartment complex visiting him before the shooting took place. "We were discussing everything that goes on at work. We were talking, playing video games, just talking."

Lemons parents have hired private investigator David Wells to determine how the shooting happened and Wells says he has talked to a number of people who live in the complex. Family-members believe Lemons walked to his car, which was parked in the visitor area, and couldn't drive out.

"The tow truck driver had Lance blocked," says Wells. "We're thinking that he didn't see the wrecker driver. He was probably just going to jump in the truck and back the wrecker driver's truck up so he could get out. And the wrecker driver came up on him and just started firing."

Wells says Lemons was no threat. "Lance didn't have a weapon on him."

Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway says he is concerned about aggressive tow truck drivers, particularly in Southern Dallas. "They have a job to do. Their lives are on the line when they are [repossessing] cars and towing cars but they are a little over aggressive, disrespectful and very, very aggressive," he said, adding, "We still have a long way to go in this city. You can take advantage of these folks much quicker than you can in other areas."

Residents at The Flats at Five Mile Creek Apartments say tow truck drivers have removed their vehicles that are in violation of parking rules at the complex. But they also say tow truck drivers have towed vehicles parked in the correct spot, but on the lines marked on the pavement.

Grant said he has filed a number of complaints with the apartment complex management. "If the back end of your car is on the sidewalk" vehicles have been towed, he said.

According to Dallas city officials, the Transportation Regulation Division of Code Compliance handles wrongful towing complaints. Tow trucker operators are licensed and regulated by the State of Texas.

City officials say parking enforcement conducted on private property is the responsibility of the property owner.

Margulies says the complex has the right to tow those parked illegally, but United Tow is not allowed on the property at this time.

Councilman Caraway said, "I think they were overaggressive with this particular issue."

Lemons was not married, he has as a two-year-old son and lived with his parents in Desoto. Family members say he majored in Criminal Justice, was an all-star athlete and grew up in the mentoring program Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated, a membership organization for mothers with children that nurtures future African-American leaders.

Lance Lemons funeral will be held Friday.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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