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Washington County District Attorney's Office won't file charges against officers involved in shooting death of Thomas Gay

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 18:08:00-04

The Washington County District Attorney's Office said charges will not be filed against the officers involved in the shooting death of Thomas Gay.

RELATED STORY: OSBI investigating Bartlesville officer-involved shooting

In a statement to KJRH, District Attorney Kevin Buchanan said after Gay's father and brother were concerned for their own safety, the officer who shot Gay was "reasonably in real apprehension of being injured or killed at the time of the shooting."

"Given the fact that both father and brother separately described the behavior of Thomas in the same manner, that both were concerned for their own safety and deemed it necessary to seek police assistance in removing Thomas from the property, there is no reason to doubt the events occurred as both the officers and father described leading up to the moment Thomas was shot," said Buchanan in a statement. "Under the circumstances, the officer who shot Thomas was reasonably in real apprehension of being injured or killed at the time of the shooting. For this reason, The District Attorney's office will not file charges against the officer, either of them, involved in the shooting death of Thomas Gay."

The statement said Gay's brother and father told police that they were at the Madison property with Thomas for most of the day on June 1 working on the father's home.

Gay's brother and father said at some point late in the day, Thomas' behavior changed unexpectedly - he was described as getting quiet and then acting very paranoid, believing people were coming after him, the statement read.

Thomas had recently driven by his wife's home in violation of a protective order and was convinced that the police had been called for that event and would lead to his arrest, officials said.

Thomas' father and brother said Thomas was repeatedly turning off the lights in the house and looking out windows, the statement said.

Officials said that Thomas' brother armed himself with a knife, believing he might need to defend himself or his father from Thomas.

Both father and brother stated that they believed he was "on something" but could not identify what, officials said.

Officials said the Medical Examiner lab results will confirm or dispel that belief when completed.

Finally, father called police wanting Thomas to be removed from his home and they both waited outside on the police, the statement read.

The statement continues say that when officers arrived, Thomas had turned off all the lights in the house and locked the doors, so Thomas' father took officers to a door and unlocked the door and entered with them.

"Thomas was standing at the head of a hallway holding an object," said Buchanan in a statement. "Lighting was poor and versions differ as to what Thomas was holding, but both officers and father state he was holding something he would not drop and began to walk backwards toward a bedroom, refusing to comply with any command and acting belligerent."

Fearing letting him out of sight into a bedroom, one officer attempted multiple times to deploy a Taser which had no effect on Thomas, so both followed him into the bedroom where they attempted to control him, Buchanan said.

The statement said Thomas then reached behind him, pulled out an object, and presented it like a weapon.

"One officer shot Thomas in the leg," Buchanan said. "Thomas recovered and again presented the object again and the same officer fired again and shot Thomas in the chest. He died of his injuries at the site."

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