Nov 072015
 

THOMAS outside car video

by Naja and Arnaud Girard…….

The Monroe County Sheriff released video of a gun battle that took place weeks ago on Stock Island. [See video below]

Dashcam from two deputies’ cruisers show the October 24th high speed chase of Timothy Thomas, who was wanted in connection with an armed robbery in Key West.

In the video Thomas drives a stolen Ford Mustang over 70 miles/hour down a Stock Island narrow street. The car then speeds out of control and slides into a fence at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Sunshine Street.

Deputy Gordon with weapon drawn approaches the vehicle. Thomas partially exits with left hand in the air as if surrendering but a second later crouches down and opens fire, hitting Gordon in the chest. Gordon falls on the ground, saved by his bulletproof vest.

The dashcam from Deputy Lariz’ vehicle shows him arriving at the precise moment when Gordon is on the ground retuning fire. Lariz also open fire on Thomas.

Incredibly enough in spite of this hellfire of over 30 rounds of ammunition, Thomas managed to free his car and escape. Deputy Gordon, who had just narrowly escaped death, jumps in his patrol car in pursuit.

Thomas’ car was found empty two blocks away. With gunshot wounds to the back and shoulder, Thomas surrendered after being surrounded by KWPD officers the next day in a house on VonPhister Street in Key West.

The Sheriff had initially rejected the Blue Paper’s request for the video footage claiming the video was exempt as part of an ongoing investigation. However on Thursday morning, during Bill Becker’s Morning Magazine show on US1 Radio, Naja Girard announced that The Blue Paper would report on the incident and would include Timothy Thomas’ version of the event. [In the police summary Timothy Thomas is reported as stating multiple times that deputies had shot at him first.

In reaction, Monroe County Sheriff, Rick Ramsey decided to release the video on Thursday, not to the Blue Paper, but rather to another local news outlet.

The video, shared with the general public early Friday morning only after The Blue Paper had published, clearly discounts Thomas’ claim and shows the heroic reaction by Deputy Gordon who continues trying to apprehend Thomas, even after suffering a blow to his bullet proof vest so violent that he had been thrown to the ground on his back.

However, Sheriff Ramsey has been playing games with public records law, deliberately continuing to deny the Blue Paper its public record request for the video after passing the video over to a different news outlet perceived to be more favorable to the Department. [See, The White, the Black, the Blue and His Dog – a Blue Paper documentary exposing a pattern of racial profiling by deputies during a special drug trafficking operation]

So the next question is going to be whether Sheriff Ramsey violated Florida Statute 119, which makes bad faith handling of public records requests by a public official a misdemeanor of the first degree.

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 November 7, 2015  Posted by at 9:45 am * Featured Story *, Naja and Arnaud Girard  Add comments

  19 Responses to “SHOOTOUT VIDEO RELEASED: Heroic Deputy Shot in Chest / Suspect Shot First”

  1. Does seem as the suspect did shoot first. But can we trust that it was no edited. Anytime you have a time delay to release a video then you have time to edit.

    Yes if this is true then he needs charged but we all know nothing will happen. The county is just as corrupt as the KWPD, just a bit better at hiding it.

  2. Building upon his alleged armed robbery of a 69 year old man in his home, along with another armed robbery and driving a stolen Ford Mustang, after recklessly leading deputies on a high speed chase, which caused this fleeing suspect to loose control and temporarily disable this stolen vehicle;;;

    I watched on the article’s accompanying videos, the individual driving this vehicle, upon it coming to a stop, rapidly open the driver side door of said vehicle, turn in the driver’s seat as he jumped out into a semi upright position, scoping out his potential targets…

    He feigned compliance with the commands of the deputy as he raised his left hand and arm straight up into the air, before quickly sitting back down and taking cover in the car…

    In a simultaneous movement, he drew his semi-automatic handgun around and fired at least three (3) shots in rapid succession at his target;;; Before any Deputies Returned Fire.

    From the video, I surmise that a deputy was struck by one of the rounds fired by this alleged suspect.

    In the video, it appears a deputy was knocked to the ground from the impact of a bullet striking his vest. Courageously and gallantly this deputy remained in the field of fire, as he took to a sitting position and returned a controlled, well aimed and steady stream of fire; in defense of his own life and in the hope of securing this armed and dangerous suspect.

    If the suspect in the aforementioned videos is Mr. Thomas, what responsibility does he bear for property damage and placing innocent lives at risk?

    One word of caution; clear, accurate and transparent information by investigators with integrity, credibility and good judgement will be required to clear this matter up for the public and all involved parties. In lieu of the Charles Eimers debacle, without mentioning any names or agencies, please use due diligence in the selection of those assigned to review this matter.

    Being shot, vest or no vest, is a painful experience. The deputy struck by the bullet maintained his composure and effectiveness during and after the gun battle. He reassured the deputy who came to his aid and proceeded with his sworn duties, as he and his team initiated a well coordinated operation, which led to the apprehension of a menacing threat.

    The deputies under Sheriff Rick Ramsay’s command on that night demonstrated valorous conduct, which reflected great honor and credit upon the Law-Enforcement Community.

    • Really not hard to see who you support. Somehow I just don’t arrive at the same opinion. 30 shots is a bit much and reckless as all hell. They as most all cops do not want anyone to surrender. They enjoy firing at suspects with no regard to safety of others. That is how cops are today and why they get little respect. Were plenty of other safer ways to arrest him. Think of the lawsuit had anyone got hurt or killed.
      Sure make the arrest but do it in a safe method. Thousands in damage over something that could been handled with no shots. And then take 2 weeks to release the video. Only reason for that was to first make sure the cops did nothing wrong. And if they had then we all know the video would have got lost or never existed.

    • Valorous conduct would not put innocent people in danger. Law enforcement must change that attitude of “getting their man at any cost”. How anyone could think these officers are justified in causing just one stray bullet to hit that house is ridiculous.

  3. This newest blue paper article on the shootout between Timothy Thomas and sheriff deputies, instigated by Thomas, is along the line of what I figure the blue paper would have published if Sheriff Ramsay simply had given the blue paper copies of the dash cam videos.

    Sheriff Ramsay not providing the dash cam videos caused a great deal of commotion online, evidenced on the blue paper’s Facebook page, and resulted in the blue paper’s Friday article being read by a lot more people than otherwise would have read it. And, Naja Garard told me, several hundred people opened link to the much older racial profiling by road deputies blue paper article.

    Perhaps in the future Sheriff Ramsay will cooperate with the blue paper, when it requests information any investigative journalist would want to know about an incident involving sheriff deputies.

    I told Arnaud Girard, for me, the real heat in this terrible case, what really has people upset about what went down after Thomas opened fire on a deputy sheriff, is the innocent people in the line of return fire from the first deputy, and then from the second deputy, who came to back him up. The way I know that’s the real heat, I told Arnaud, is because nobody wants to hear about the innocent bystanders being in the line of the deputies’ return fire.

    Sheriff Ramsay is not talking about it. The Key West Citizen, which published several articles on the Thomas case, never mentioned the innocent bystanders in the deputies’ line of return fire. That’s what scared the hell out of everyone about this case, even if they have not yet figured out it scared the hell out of them. Arnaud agreed with me. And I agreed with him, that it was a miracle, for real, that none of those innocent bystanders were shot by the deputies’ return fire.

    Of course, the angels I am accused of inventing had nothing to do with that miracle. It just … happened, like the entire Creation … just happened. Out of thin air, the Creation … just came into being, as if by … what device? Science will never answer that question, nor will science ever be able to explain why no innocent person was shot that terrible night. Nor why Thomas got away from the deputies, instead of them all reloading their empty guns and shooting it out again … until innocent bystanders were shot.

    Sheriff Ramsay and his brave deputies, and their families and friends, and all other deputies and sheriff employees, and all other local law enforcement officers, and everyone in Key West and the Florida Keys should be down on our knees thanking God for the miracles of that terrible night, which saved those innocent bystanders from being shot by deputies’ return fire, and which saved those deputies from not being shot and killed.

    Can you imagine the national and international headlines, if deputies had shot innocent bystanders during that shootout? Can you imagine the effect that would have had on tourists wanting to come to Key West, which depends on tourism for survival? For tourists to know people like Timothy Thomas live here, and his brother, who now is in jail for threatening to kill deputies? That awful news would have been all over the national and international news, if the deputies’ return fire had hit innocent bystanders. And that, in my opinion, is why the Citizen has yet to report innocent bystanders were in the line of deputies’ return fire.

    Only the blue paper had the steel in its spine to report what nobody wanted anyone to say. And because the blue paper was going to report it, Sheriff Ramsay released the video dash recordings to the Citizen, as part of an effort to discredit and get people mad at the blue paper, and divert them away from being freaked out by innocent bystanders being in the line of the deputies’ return fire.

    What I hope to hear from Sheriff Ramsay is, how are deputies trained to deal with situations where there are innocent bystanders in deputies’ line of return fire? And how is he going to instruct deputies to deal with any future similar situations? Or is Sheriff Ramsay going to say what I have been reading in the news and online: it was Timothy Thomas who put those innocent bystanders in the line of fire, and the deputies were not in anyway responsible for where their bullets then went, or who those bullets hit?

    For all I know, that is the law of the land. But if it is, then it is a terrible law, and I know Sheriff Ramasay knows it is a terrible law. Imagine those bystanders being Sheriff Ramsay’s relatives, and several of them were shot and wounded, or killed, by his own deputies. Imagine Sheriff Ramsay then attacking Naja and Arnaud Giard, and the blue paper, on US 1 Radio, for Naja earlier announcing on US 1 Radio that they were bringing an article about Sheriff’s Ramsay’s innocent relatives being shot by his deputies, in the line of duty.

    Maybe if another Timothy Thomas-like incident occurs, a known convicted felon out of prison, alleged to have gone back to his old ways, figured to be dangerous, sheriff deputies, city police officers, will be more cautious about how they try to apprehend him. Maybe they run down his fleeing car and get out of their cruisers and stand behind open doors, using them as bullet shields, instead of walking up to the bad guy’s car. Maybe they tell the bad guy with their loudspeakers to get out of his car with his empty hands raised. And if he does not do that, maybe they call for S.W.A.T. backup. And maybe they broadcast on their loudspeakers for anyone nearby to get away from there, or go into their homes and get under cover until further notice.

    If Thomas had shot Deputy Gordon in the head, instead of in the chest, Gordon would be dead. Then there would have been only Deputy Lariz to deal with Thomas, who wasn’t in the least hesitant to shoot to kill law enforcement officers making a valid arrest of a known dangerous convicted felon.

    I’m getting redundant. What will Sheriff Ramsay do to try to make it less likely anything like this happens in the future?

  4. i for one do not see a controversy in the reporting either pre or post video. i have read the vitriol on the facebook page and find it totally misplaced, and advanced solely by ignorance and agenda. i also fail to see where there is factual error in either article (save for the trivial “war gun” reference). i do however, see a great failure in the public schools in graduating so many readers who have reading comprehension issues.

    i also take exception to the near universal silence by these police apologists for the “cowboy” MCSO deputies firing indiscriminately without regard for their background. let’s remember: they fired some 30 shots and only hit the guy twice, at most.

    the blue paper has once again stepped up and filled a reporting need not offered by other “journalism” outlets. they should be applauded, not castigated. they neither owe, or need, to apologize to anyone for anything.

    Key West is fortunate indeed to have them; too bad there are so many rubes who fail to appreciate the invaluable service they too receive from this excellent publication.

  5. In the top video there is no clock embedded, but in the lower one there is. What’s up with that? Doctored to delete first gunfire? Maybe not, but suspicious. I specifically looked for the clock readout to check for missing seconds. I am not defending Thomas, but I have become suspicious of absolutely everything released by officialdom.
    Did you see the palm frond twitch and drop in the background? Were some bullets fired that high, perhaps due to rapid firing and recoil, that some went over the house to who knows where? If so it was not just the family in danger.
    The innocent family was having a sweet sixteen party at 10PM? Hmmmm….
    Don’t you love the gansta rap on the lower police cruiser sound? Did he turn it up when he knew he was arriving at a gunfight? I am not sure- just observing.
    Is the sound normally off and the patrolman has to turn it on to record on the dash cam? The lower video starts with silence.
    Considering that the first patrol car was seen jammed up against the suspect in the top video and that the first officer took a shot to the chest fired from the driver’s seat of that car which subsequently drove off, do you find it strange that in the lower video that the two officers are seen walking around in the clear for an easy kill shot right after the chest shot?
    Do you find it strange that after the stolen car drives off, the two officers appear to be in no hurry to go after him in the lower video?
    Did you see the bicyclist leisurely riding past? And the pedestrian? Only on Stock Island would residents be so unfazed by a police shootout? Could this be a video production- not well directed? Just exploring the possibilities, not accusing anyone..
    It would be interesting to synchronize the two videos in time by a shared event and then running them together in adjacent views to see how well they maintain synchronization. I bet that would be real interesting indeed.

  6. Hey, at least Thomas uses his turn signals.

  7. Getting shot isnt heroic. Shooting birthday party isnt heroic. Bad guy gets away isnt heroic. But Ramsey says it is a great job. I dont think its great,I think its just dangerous for us and very scary

  8. Halloween, yes, the 1st clock needs to be confirmed, for all should be cautious about anything put out by “officialdom”. However, unless the beginning of the first video is missing, the 2 cam videos looks pretty in sync to me.

    Looks to me in the second video, the 2 deputies are briefly dealing with the first deputy to arrive having been shot; he appears disoriented, in shock, from having been shot; and he seems to have run out of ammo; then he seems to get stable and gets into his cruiser and goes after the bad guy, who had driven off after all the shooting stopped, I suppose because all of the guns ran out of ammo and the bad guy thought he could make a run for it?

    Keysbum, yes, the general silence surrounding the innocents in the line of the deputies’ return fire is deafening. Arnaud Girard, who wrote the article, is French, and became a nationalized American. English is, I think, his third language, behind French and Spanish. It was Arnaud’s Spanish that enabled him to interview the Alfonso family, who, Arnaud told me, do not speak English well.

    I would not call the automatic rifle a war rifle, I would call it a military rifle, because I am American. I can see a Frenchman calling it a war rifle, meaning a military rifle.

    Likewise, I would not call Thomas a “bad boy,” but would call him a bad man, or the bad guy, because I am an American, and that’s what outlaws in the wild west and bad guys in cops and robbers movies go by – the bad guys.

    The rap music in the 2nd deputy’s cruiser is interesting. Did not rap come from the American black community? Was not the 2nd deputy one of the officers featured in the earlier blue paper article on racial profiling, against blacks, by local law enforcement officers during road arrests?

    When the deputies found the bad guy’s parked car down the road, they were super cautious that time, understandably. And when law enforcement officers corralled Thomas 2 days later in a Bahama Village home, they used an entirely different approach; they surrounded the house; a S.W.A.T. team was there, a negotiator was there; there was no gun fire, thankfully.

    I’m not saying that’s how it should have been handled on Stock Island, but one deputy single-handed trying to make that arrest, with another deputy coming in fast behind, turned out very badly, and could have turned out far worse, and I hope lessons were learned and new ways of trying to deal with something like this will be implemented.

    For any people trying to make excuses for Thomas … he was armed with an automatic pistol that night. I don’t think ex-cons are supposed to own or be in possession of pistols.

    In the video, it looks to me Thomas tried to pull a fast on on the 1st deputy. It looks to me Thompson faked he was surrendering, by raising and waving his left hand above his head, outside his car, to try to cause the deputy to relax his guard; but Thomas had the pistol in his right hand out of sight, intending to shoot the deputy when he got within close range. And, Thomas did shoot the deputy, in the chest.

    I have shot pistols a few times. I am a lousy shot. Pistols are not easy to shoot accurately without considerable practice. Thomas seemed comfortable shooting the pistol. Like he was old fiends with it.

    I think there is plenty in the first video to indicate Thomas is indeed a bad guy, and more than that, a very dangerous bad guy.

  9. Here’s a link to an interview with the girl who was having the Sweet 16 party:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9b4a7p8BPk&feature=youtu.be

    She seems to speak English just fine to me.

    A thousand years ago when I was 16, girls didn’t look anywhere near that old.

  10. What I love about this paper is that the writers are so ignorant that it is funny. The dash cam videos in any of the patrol vehicles in any agency in the state of Florida can be requested from any member of the public. However the writers obviously do not understand how long it takes an agency to give them out. The dash cam videos have to be downloaded which in this case may have been the next morning or afternoon. Since there is always an internal investigation when there is shooting with any law enforcement the video was probably disbursed to the people in their internal affairs so they can review the video to see if and possibly what the officers did wrong and perhaps teach not only the officers involved but also current and future officers what they could have done to prevent another horrible event. I trust the writers went through the Sheriffs Office’s central records division to request said video. If you did you might have asked how long it would take for you to recieve a copy of said video. Once you put in a request for video evidence the head of the department begins to email the correct people to get said video from. Considering its from the patrol vehicle the director would have to speak to another department to not only see if they were able to download the video but to also get a copy of the video. That can take a few days and considering the Sheriffs Office was in a frenzy with this worrying about not only worrying about the safety of its officers but also the community and catching this monster its kind of understand able as to why this request so long. Also any video that is to be given out from their central records division must be reviewed to make sure there is nothing shown in the video that is illegal (i.e. Child pornography and such other things). I personally do not blame the Sheriffs Office for not only taking this long to desperse the video but also skip giving the Blue Paper first dips on the video. They gave the video to THE CITIZEN. Why? Because they are obviously not anti law enforcement as the Blue Paper. I wish you all would stop depicting this “blue rag” as a quality piece of journalism. The real reason people read most of the stories in this paper aren’t for quality, hard hitting or factual news reports. They read it because it’s the best gossip magazine in the Florida Keys and everyone knows it.

    • Thank you for your willingness to enter into this discussion. Maybe not opening up with an insult would have given you more credibility as an open minded person who is defending a position for reasons other than “team spirit”. We know all too well how to obtain public records – it’s something we do all the time. You say: “I personally do not blame the Sheriffs Office for not only taking this long to disperse the video but also skip giving the Blue Paper first dips on the video. they gave the video to THE CITIZEN. Why? Because they are obviously not anti law enforcement as the Blue Paper.” Well. Here’s something you may want to know about the law: There is this body of Florida Law called the Public Records Act. It is found in Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes. Public officials MUST abide by the law in furnishing public records “in good faith.” We had asked for the video via an official public records act request about a week prior to writing the article and were awaiting its release. We understood that the Sheriff had taken the stance that it was exempt due to “an open investigation.” That happens all the time and was expected. We weren’t complaining about it. Now: As soon as the Sheriff decided to hand it over to the Citizen it became a NON-EXEMPT public record. The Sheriff knew we had asked for it, he knew we were writing a piece in which we would let readers know that his department had produced a summary that included information that the SUSPECT had a different version of events than law enforcement. He knew that giving us the videos would have allowed us to report that the suspect had lied. But he wanted to attack our credibility because we were going to DARE to inform the public that the Sheriff’s department documents contained information from the suspect that contradicted what his officers had said, so He chose instead to deliberately WITHHOLD the now non-exempt public records from us. He waited until after we published our article to announce that the videos had been put on youtube and still did not directly respond to our public records request with the information that the videos had become non-exempt public records and were available on youtube. A public official is not allowed to WITHHOLD public record for any amount of time – because they don’t like you or because doing so would make you look bad. An official picking and choosing which news agencies or member of the public [who asked for it] gets public record – and timing the release differently so as to have an adverse affect on the disliked publication – is NOT an option as it defies the requirement of “good faith.” This act by the Sheriff is likely a violation of Chapter 119 – a misdemeanor of the first degree. Now as to our report – prior to the video being released – that a suspect had made statements that contradicted the official version of events: This time the suspect was lying. SOMETIMES it’s the officers who are lying. Do you believe news media should suppress information in a police report that comes from the suspect while reporting fully on the law enforcement version of events? If so, please explain. We are eager to learn and better understand that point of view. Because we honestly don’t get it.

      • Naja, great reply to sunshine. As you clarified, the story here has passed beyond the shooting and on to the public record request cover up. We all know that nothing will happen, but it is important to know.

  11. Sunshine, I don’t know why you read this paper but can tell why I read it. This is one paper that prints the truth as best as it is known. If the MCSO keeps facts hidden then it is them not the paper at fault. Knowing they needed it for the truth to come out and withholding it is the sheriffs fault.

    And even if they force the charge at best he gets a day or two off but he will not loose a penny in pay. Voters now are in control.

  12. If and I do mean IF the video is unedited then it is clear that had Gordon waited he would have had back up in about a minute. All Gordon had needed to do was wait a few minutes to see the next move Thomas would have made. Maybe in that few minutes they would have blocked all the roads and Thomas would not got away. Was no need to try and take him alone. Cops seldom make any actual arrest without backup and that is smart. Would Thomas surrendered without any fire had he seen 2 or more cops ? He seen only one and had a great chance of killing Gordon and getting away. Gordon acted in poor judgement and put himself in danger. Hope he learned from his mistake.

    Someone now will need to pick up the bill for all the damage to the house and cars and a sharp lawyer will take the MCSO to court and win. The damage goes far beyond the property. Now we might have the people in that house needing mental help. Only evidence he needs is the 2 dash cams. I bet some other cell phone cams have some video too.

    The real problem today is few people will believe anything a cop says. Why ? Just watch the video of Eimers murder as he surrendered. Does anyone trust the FDLE ? I sure don’t. They clearly can get away with even murder so something like this will bring no charges. What would be the charge ? Endangerment to the public ?

    Let’s think this out a bit. The Mustang was not disabled so why did Thomas not back up and resume ? Just maybe Thomas did try to surrender. Just how far could Thomas have got on that small island ?

    Yes seems no question that Thomas is a thug and learned nothing in prison. And likely will be doing many years in prison this time. What many don’t know is they learn from each other in prison and my guess is in about 10 years he will be back on the street.

    Need we even bring up the fact that future tourist might think twice about visiting Key West. Had the sheriff trained his men better this might have turned into praise of his department for a job well done.

    Remember that the Blue paper does not create the problems they just report them.

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