Man who shot at deputies gets 70 years in prison

Allen Thomas

Allen Dewayne Thomas, 49, of Weatherford, pleaded guilty to shooting at four Parker County sheriff’s deputies and was sentenced to 70 years in prison in a trial that concluded in Weatherford on Monday.

Thomas pleaded guilty to four aggravated assault of a public servant charges that stemmed from an April 1, 2017, incident in which he was accused of shooting at four deputies in southwest Parker County. Thomas elected to have District Judge Graham Quisenberry assess his punishment.

“The deputies were responding to Mr. Thomas’ property because he called 911 and asked for law enforcement to come out due to him shooting two trespassers on his property who he said were shooting guns,” Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Larry Fadler, said. “As it turns out, that was a ruse to get the deputies to come out there so that he could shoot them. There was no one out there that was shot. Because of some threats Mr. Thomas made about five weeks previously, the deputies were wary that they were walking into an ambush and they were certainly correct. However, the nature of the call was such that they had no choice but to respond. From the information they had at the time, there could have been people shot and dead or dying on his property.”

On Feb. 22, 2017, Thomas told a different PCSO deputy who had responded to a 911 call that he had made that, if they came out there again, he would “put two in our head,” according to PCSO records. When the deputy asked Thomas if he meant even if they were in uniform and in a marked police car, Thomas told them that’s “hard to tell at 400 yards at night with a scope.”

“Three of the bullets shot by Mr. Thomas struck one of the deputies’ vehicles, one in the front bumper, one in the center of the windshield, and one in the back passenger door,” Swain said. “With the deputies out of their vehicles and gathered in the roadway formulating a plan to handle the call, any of those shots could have hit the deputies.”

According to trial testimony, after they were fired upon and could not determine the location of the shooter, deputies retreated away from Thomas’ property and waited for the SWAT team to arrive. When SWAT first entered the property, they saw Thomas standing defiantly with a rifle slung over his back yelling, “Come and get me.” However, when they got closer, Thomas put his hands in the air and was arrested without more than some struggling with officers.

During the defense case, Thomas testified that he was a United States Marine Corps veteran of better than a decade, whose service concluded in 2001. He said that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a shell that exploded near him while he was deployed. Thomas testified that he remembered calling 911 on the day of the offense but that he didn’t remember shooting at the deputies and didn’t remember anything after that call until about three months after he was incarcerated.

The defense attorney also introduced records from a psychologist who did an evaluation of Thomas, finding that he was not insane at the time of the incident and was competent to stand trial. However, the records concluded that Thomas suffered from PTSD and bi-polar disorder.

“We appreciate Mr. Thomas’ service to our country,” Swain said. “However, what he did here in setting up this ambush and shooting at the deputies could just as well have cost the lives of any of these four deputies, two of whom are veterans themselves. We appreciate Judge Quisenberry taking a strong stand for public safety with this sentence. This was a situation that would have been worse if it had gone as Mr. Thomas intended. We were truly blessed that his shots missed.”

Thomas will not be eligible for parole until 2048, Swain said.