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Local News

February 22, 2010

Man shot, killed following game room robbery

QUINLAN — A deputy with the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office shot and killed a local man following a reported robbery of a Quinlan-area game room late Saturday night.

It was the second officer-involved fatal shooting in the county in less than 12 hours.

Vincent Thomas, 49, of Greenville was identified by the sheriff’s office as the deceased individual. Two other suspects were taken into custody following as separate chase connected to the same alleged hold-up.

According to a press release, the sheriff’s office received two simultaneous calls at around 11:50 p.m. Saturday. Both calls were from females, and both were from Bonnie Lou’s Game Room on State Highway 276, west of Quinlan. Both callers were pleading for the police and for help, then both lines went dead. Deputies were immediately dispatched to the location.

The first responding deputy arrived at the scene in just over one minute and determined there had been a robbery at the location. A suspect vehicle reportedly left the game room eastbound on Highway 276 towards Quinlan.

A second responding deputy encountered a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle on Highway 276 near the intersection of State Highway 34 shortly before midnight. He turned around on the vehicle, activated his emergency lights and attempted to initiate a traffic stop.

The suspect vehicle slowed, but did not stop and Thomas exited the front passenger door. Thomas allegedly fired twice at the deputy while the deputy was still in his patrol car. The deputy exited his vehicle and rolled onto the ground drawing his weapon. Thomas then came around to the passenger side of the patrol car, continuing to fire on the deputy. The deputy returned fire, striking Thomas, who later died at the Hunt Regional Medical Center in Greenville.

Officers from the Hawk Cove Police Department responded at the same time as the second responding sheriff’s unit converging on the same location. Two additional suspects in the vehicle led the Hawk Cove Police Officers in a pursuit northbound on State Highway 34 toward Greenville.

A trooper with the Department of Public Safety deployed stop sticks to slow the vehicle. Officers from the Greenville Police Department and an additional Hunt County unit responded to assist as well. Units from all agencies took the additional suspects into custody on State Highway 34 without further incident.

The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office was also assisted by the Quinlan Police Department and the West Tawakoni Police Department. The weapon used by the suspect in the shooting along with an undisclosed amount of cash believed taken from the robbery was recovered at the scene of the shooting in Quinlan. No Hunt County Deputies were injured, although a county patrol unit was struck by at least four bullets allegedly fired by Thomas.

The investigation is ongoing by the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers.

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