Man Charged With Shooting Deputy in Chest Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

Timothy Thomas, Photo: MCSO

The Key West man accused of shooting a Monroe County Sheriff’s Office deputy in the chest in an October 2015 firefight on Stock Island has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Judge Wayne Miller ruled at a hearing last Wednesday that Timothy Thomas III was not mentally competent to stand trial.  According to records prosecutors and a public defender agreed, without debate, to a mental health expert’s findings.

Last January Thomas threw a chair through a window at the county jail on Stock Island causing $1,300 in damages. A report states that Thomas became irate during a hearing at the jail, but there is no information regarding just what Thomas was angry about. There is an order to send Thomas to Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee.

Thomas pled not guilty in 2015 to first-degree felony attempted murder on a law enforcement officer. The charge carries a mandatory life imprisonment penalty without the possibility of parole.

Police had been searching for Thomas in connection with an Oct. 5 armed robbery on the 1500 block of Fourth Street that led to the lockdown of nearby Key West High School. On Oct. 24, Thomas and two deputies engaged in crossfire in a residential neighborhood on Stock Island after Thomas led the officers on a high-speed chase. Neighborhood homes and businesses were riddled with bullets during the shootout. One family reported they had been enjoying an outdoor sweet sixteen party at the time and were forced to run for cover to escape being shot.

Deputy Josh Gordon was shot in the chest, but was not seriously injured as he was wearing a bullet-resistant vest. Thomas was shot twice during the exchange and was treated the next day at Lower Keys Medical Center after he surrendered to Key West police officers, who had him surrounded at a house on VonPhister Street in Key West. The officers managed to convince Thomas to come out peaceably.

Thomas also pled not guilty to charges of fleeing or attempting to elude the night of the shootout and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon as well as armed burglary of a structure stemming from the October 25th VonPhister Street standoff. [Thomas was not charged with any involvement in the October 5th Fourth Street armed robbery that set off the chain of events.]

There is no trial date set as yet. Thomas will likely remain in a state hospital until it is determined that he is mentally fit to stand trial.

Click here for previous coverage about the Timothy Thomas case including video of the Stock Island shootout.


8 thoughts on “Man Charged With Shooting Deputy in Chest Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

  1. My recollection is Arnaud and Naja took MCSO to task for the two officers not exercising standard police safety protocol when engaging an armed suspect, and for shooting it out with Thomas with a yard full of civilians nearby, including children.

    I wonder how come Thomas was judged mentally incompetent?

    Thomas is seen in the deputy cruiser cam video of driving his car at high speeds, fleeing through a residential neighborhood. Then, when Thomas is caught up with, he is seeing lying in wait for Deputy Gordon, after pretending to comply with Gordon’ oder for Thomas to get out of his vehicle with hands raised, but Thomas only raises and waives his left hand outside the open car door and has his pistol in his right hand, intending to shoot Deputy Gordon. Thomas then does shoot Deputy Gordon, twice. After the two deputies fire all of the bullets in their pistols, and in one assault-looking rifle, Thomas has the presence of mind to flee in his car, ditch it, and make his way back into Key West on foot and into that house, apparently, where he finally is surrounded and this time, he has the presence of mind to peacefully surrender.

    Here’s how the Key West Citizen article today explained my wonderment.

    “There is a legal difference between mental competency and sanity in general terms, but in short:

    “Competency is measured while a defendant is in court and it implies the person has a basic understanding that they are in court, they are being represented by a lawyer, they understand the charges and what the penalties would be. Sanity, on the other hand, refers to a person’s state of mind at th time of the alleged offense. Sanity is defined by the courts as per the definition that is read to the jurors:

    “‘a person is considered to be insane when he or she had a menial infirmity, disease, or defect and because of that condition he or she did not know what he or she was doing or its consequences, or although he or she knew what he or she was doing and its consequences, he of she did not know it was wrong.'”

    Gosh. How many times have I been accused of being both mentally incompetent and insane?

    Gosh. How did the State Attorney and Judge Miller go along with the “mental health expert”?

    Gosh. Who hired the “mental health expert”? I would have loved to cross-examine him, or her.

    According to Kari Dangler, as soon as April Thomason, who had drove her Mercedes up on a sidewalk and run down and killed a woman pedestrian, on purpose, Aptil later told Kari in the county jail, April started acting crazy as soon as she was bought into the county jail. She got down on all fours and pretended she was having seizures. She talked like she was crazy. While, at the same time, a local rabbi, whose cell phone number April had, came to see April in the jail, and right away April was eating kosher food, instead of standard jail food, even though April did not attend synagogue. Oh, April was a local stripper and escort.

    Okay, so Thomas threw a chair through a jail window. He can be shackled and brought to court shackled and stay shackled. Wrists in cuffs. Feet in cuffs. A chain around his torso connected to both sets of cuffs. Deputies on both sides of him, and a deputy behind him.

    I represented a far more dangerous defendant when I practiced law in Alabama. The judge begged me to represent him, court-appointed, after the “good” defense lawyers, a string of them, had gotten all of the armed robbery money from him for their fees. Then, he was convicted, but there was one case left to try. The defense lawyers were not interested. I accepted the appointment. My client was in the courtroom shackled just as described above.

    Well, I bet Sheriff Rick Ramsay and his two brave deputies, who put their lives on the line that terrible night, and wounded Thomas, which perhaps is why he finally was caught, are thrilled with the State Attorney and Judge Miller’s decision.

    1. I’m sorry but your reply to this story is all over the place and makes no sense. Do you know everything that happened and the fact pattern to this entire incident or are you basing your response on what you’ve read in the paper? I’ve seen the video and he wasn’t “laying in wait” to ambush an officer. That is ludicrous. I’m sure a lot of people aren’t thrilled with the new events in this case but he was found incompetent at this time to stand trial and there were enough facts for an expert to make this diagnosis. The amount of ignorance that I see in the media and this world just baffles me. Gain some knowledge and open your mind. Stop throwing stones when I’m sure no one lives in a glass house nor has a perfect life or family.

  2. And let me add this…you compare him and this woman’s case as if they’re the same. The police reported she said God told her to commit her crime and she gets kosher meals and treated nicely while Thomas has been tormented and tainted by jail staff the entirety of his incarceration and lucky to get a jail tray each day. No one is perfect but learn all the facts and open your mind. I know Timothy is from a good family and how he was raised and won’t comment on anyone else’s situation because I don’t inownfirst hand about it. I pray for them both and for those ignorant enough to cast their stones.

  3. OK, can we assume he is currently in jail ? If yes then all this is about waiting for all to cool down. In the end he will get jail time and credit for time served. He might legally qualify as now but it is all part of the game. If he is really a mental case as claimed then the system should keep him locked up for life. He fully intended to KILL that cop. Yes the cop messed up and set himself up as a target. Just be happy he did not end up dead. Yes the cop put people at risk but that is not part of this trial. Anyone that views that video can clearly see that he dam sure was not incompetent at that time. He needs to get about 20 years. Can only hope in a case like this that he gets abused while doing time. You never shoot at a cop unless ready for a life of hell.

    1. Thanks for your opinion based on watching a you tube video. I hope you or anyone in your family or close to you ever goes through what he has in life and everyone’s life is equal no matter who they are. No one is condoning what happened or making excuses but grateful everyone was ok. Small and closed minded like so many others but why expect anything less…ah those glass houses are all around!

      1. When cops start getting smart and wear body cams that STAY ON and release them instantly then just maybe we would not rely on you tube. Body cams and dash cams if used would help cops not hurt them. Hope they know how many people see cops in action and start up that cell phone cam, I sure do because we know cops can’t be trusted. Need I bring up the name Eimers again ? That not only hurt credibility of KWPD but all cops.

        As to what happens to him was caused by him. After doing 3 years he still has not changed. Stolen car, firearm by felon, and list goes on. No his type never learns and has nothing to do with race.

  4. So , if I am understanding this correctly he will either finish his life in a mental hospital or go to trial and if convicted and should be, will go to prison for life with no parole .

    Not sure what would be worse. Thinking in prison he might end up killed or assisted in hanging. One thing is certain and that is he is a risk to everyone where ever he is.

    This is a major problem as he will do what it takes to escape. And if need be will kill to gain freedom.

    As far as the cops mistakes we all know none will be fired. Hopefully it will be a learning tool for the others. Are plenty of other methods they could have used and not needed to fire that many shots. They did what they had to do with limited time to think it out.

  5. Seriously what I see here is only a dam few seem to even care about this case or too scared to voice an opinion. Neither is good. Thousands read this paper every day but seems like less than 10 ever voice an opinion. Here is a case with only a few caring and hundreds if not thousands seen the video . How come so few care ?

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