VIDEO: 'Unarmed Black Man' Shot, Dashcam Shows Him Advancing On Officer
Houston, TX – There are multiple videos circulating on social media of an officer-involved shooting that left a man dead in Austin (videos below).
Police said that 34-year-old Danny Ray Thomas had been wandering around in the street at an intersection, with his pants down around his ankles, when Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Cameron Brewer arrived on the scene at about 1 p.m. on March 22.
Witnesses told police that Thomas was talking to himself and hitting vehicles as they passed by him. Then he struck a white vehicle and the driver got out and went after Thomas, according to the statement posted by the Houston Police Department (HPD), the agency investigating the shooting.
Deputy Brewer saw the altercation taking place between Thomas and the driver, and he stopped to intervene.
The dashcam video released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office showed that when the deputy got out of his patrol vehicle, Thomas began advancing toward him.
On the video, Deputy Brewer could be heard giving Thomas repeated commands to stop, but the man continued toward the deputy without slowing down.
“Fearing for his safety, the deputy discharged his duty weapon, striking Thomas once in the chest,” Houston police said in the statement.
Thomas was transported to the hospital where he died.
Deputy Brewer was not injured in the altercation, but was placed on administrative duty pending investigation as per protocol. The deputy joined the sheriff’s office in 2016, The New York Times reported.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said that Deputy Brewer had a Taser with him at the time of the incident, but he didn’t deploy it.
“We are going to take this very seriously,” Sheriff Gonzalez said at a media briefing. “We are going to review all policies and procedures to see how we can continue to be better and learn from these situations.”
He said that deputies were trained on the use of nonlethal force, including dealing with suspects who might be mentally disturbed.
Thomas’s family said the man had been suffering from severe depression after the murder of his five- and seven-year-old children at the hands of their mother in 2016.
Sheborah Thomas was awaiting trial on capital murder charges for drowning both of her children in the bathtub.
The initial video that was released to the public was filmed by on a phone by a witness from across the street. At first, the woman filming can be heard joking and laughing about how Thomas is about to get Tased.
Then a vehicle comes across and blocks the view of Thomas – and then the gunshots occur.
A second video surfaced that showed a brief clip of exactly what happened right before Deputy Brewer fired the fatal shot.
That video, filmed for Snapchat, showed Thomas advancing on the deputy.
HPD's Homicide Division Special Investigations Unit and the Harris County District Attorney's Office are continuing to investigate the incident, The New York Times reported.
Multiple videos below. Scroll down for more.
Watch the dashcam video released by the sheriff’s department here:
Watch the video filmed from across the street here:
Watch the Snapchat video of Thomas approaching Deputy Brewer here: