Photo of shooting suspect Timothy Thomas.
The man who shot a deputy Saturday night on Stock Island is in custody. He was arrested at a home on Von Phister Street in Key West this afternoon.
The deputy was wearing a bullet proof vest which stopped the bullet. He was slightly injured from the impact but was treated and released at the hospital.
Information was received today that 25 year old Timothy Thomas was at hiding out at a residence at 1711 Von Phister Street in Key West. Sheriff’s Office and Key West Police set up a perimeter around the house and cleared neighbors from the area. Key West Police negotiators spoke with Thomas over the phone and convinced him to give himself up. He came out of the house with his hands up and was taken into custody just after 6 p.m. He had two gunshot wounds sustained when he exchanged fire with Sheriff’s deputies the night before.
“We were not going to let this guy remain at large where he was a threat to law enforcement and to the community,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “Our officers, with the assistance of many other agencies, worked tirelessly chasing down leads until we got him,” he said. “The teamwork we have between agencies and with the community helped resolve this situation without any further violence.”
More information is now available in an incident that took place on Stock Island Saturday night.
Just before 9:45 p.m., Key West Police notified the Sheriff’s Office to look out for a black colored mustang headed out of the city of Key West. A suspect from an armed robbery in the city was believed to be in the vehicle. The suspect vehicle – a black Ford Mustang – was spotted on Stock Island by Deputy Joshua Gordon. Deputy David Lariz responded to back him up.
The suspect who was driving the black Mustang, later identified as 25 year old Timothy Thomas of Key West, spotted the deputies vehicles. He sped up, fleeing from them down 3rd Avenue, toward 5th Street. He drove through the intersection at 5th Street and 3rd Avenue, but hit a stop sign, which stopped the vehicle.
The deputies exited their patrol cars in an effort to detain the suspect, but Thomas began firing at the deputies, hitting Deputy Gordon in the chest. His bullet proof vest protected him from serious injury. Both deputies returned fire, and retreated to cover behind their patrol vehicles.
Thomas was able to flee the area in the Mustang, which he abandoned at 2nd Avenue and 5th Street, just a short distance away. He fled on foot. Blood was found in the abandoned car, indicating Thomas may have been injured in the confrontation. There were no other passengers in the vehicle with him.
An extensive search of the area failed to locate Thomas. Sheriff’s detectives received information a short time later that he might be hiding on Big Coppitt Key, possibly in the area of Barcelona Drive. The search for Thomas continued in that area, with a perimeter set up and a street by street, house by house search taking place.
“This man is armed and dangerous. If you see him or know where he is, do not approach him. Call 911 immediately,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “We are continuing our search for Timothy Thomas. You cannot shoot one of our officers and walk away from it. We will catch him. It is just a matter of time,” he said.
“I am so thankful that Deputy Gordon is safe and uninjured. Just a few inches one way or another and the outcome would have been very different. This just shows you how a call can turn violent in an instant. As a law enforcement officer, you just never know what you will be confronted with when you put on that uniform every day,” said Sheriff Ramsay.
Assisting in the search were officers from the Sheriff’s Office, Key West Police, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Highway Patrol, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. SWAT from the Sheriff’s Office and SRT from Key West Police were on scene, along with K-9 teams from Key West Police. Also lending support upon request was the Miami-Dade Police Department, which sent a helicopter to help with an air search as well as a K-9 team and members of their SWAT team. Customs and Border Protection sent a helicopter as well to assist in the search.
After an extensive search, the perimeter was canceled at 7 a.m. today. Thomas remains on the loose. He should be considered armed and dangerous; he may also be injured.
Anyone with information about this crime should contact the Sheriff’s Office immediately at 305-481-8060. Callers may also contact Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys. Tipsters can remain anonymous and, if a tip leads to an arrest in the case, the caller would be eligible for a cash reward. The Crime Stoppers hot line number is 1-800-346-TIPS. Tips may also be submitted on line at www.tipsubmit.com or via a text message to 274637 using the keyword TIP136.
Information about officers involved in the shooting:
Deputy Josh Gordon was hired as a Reserve Deputy in March of 2010; he worked in that capacity until March of 2013 when he became a full time Road Patrol Deputy, assigned to the Lower Keys.
Deputy David Lariz was hired as a Road Patrol Deputy in January of 2002 and has worked in that capacity on Lower Keys Road Patrol since that time.