Video released of July deputy shooting near Waterflow, suspect reportedly had 'replica firearm'

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
A screen capture of a San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy, who on July 11 shot and killed Shawn Thomas, after the man allegedly pointed a firearm at a sergeant in the area of Waterflow along U.S. Highway 64.
  • The Sheriff's Office released the information that Thomas possibly had a "replica firearm" in an Aug. 12 statement issued by San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari.
  • The video uses video footage from dashboard and body cameras and a 911 dispatch call to detail how Thomas allegedly pulled a firearm on two people at a Shiprock gas station then led law enforcement on a pursuit before he was fatally shot.
  • The video depicts how Thomas fled police, starting and stopping the vehicle repeatedly along U.S. Highway 64 in the Waterflow area.

FARMINGTON — The Albuquerque man who was shot and killed by a sheriff’s office deputy in July possibly had a replica firearm instead of a handgun the deputies believed he had.

The new information comes as a video was released which allegedly shows Shawn Thomas pointing the "firearm" at deputies two times during the incident

Thomas, 36, was shot and killed on July 11 by a San Juan County Sheriff’s Office deputy along U.S. Highway 64 near Waterflow.

It was on Aug. 12 that the Sheriff’s Office released new information on the investigation into the shooting, and a six minute, 35 second video which detailed in the incident.

The San Juan County Regional Officer Involved Shooting Task Force is handling the investigation and is comprised of county and state law enforcement.

Firearm

The Sheriff's Office released the information that Thomas possibly had a "replica firearm" in an Aug. 12 statement issued by San Juan County Sheriff Shane Ferrari.

“On the day of this incident, a citizen and two deputies witnessed Thomas in possession of a handgun. During a recent prior law enforcement arrest, Thomas was in possession of a replica handgun,” Ferrari said in a statement. “We now suspect that Thomas was in possession of a replica handgun again during this incident.”

The criminal case Ferrari references is a June 20 incident in Farmington where Thomas was accused of pointing a firearm at three people, according to court documents.

Thomas was later arrested that evening for a DWI when an “airsoft type gun” was found in the vehicle’s trunk, the affidavit states. He later admitted it was a “BB gun," according to court documents.

The vehicle Thomas was driving on July 11, a blue Toyota Corolla, caught fire and its contents were destroyed, including the "firearm."

The evidence from the inside the vehicle is being examined by a state laboratory, Ferrari said in the statement.

A screen capture of a July 11 video shows the blue Toyota Corolla Shawn Thomas was driving after it caught on fire alongside U.S. Highway 64 near Waterflow. The vehicle traveled off the roadway after Thomas was shot and killed by a San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy.

Video

The video uses footage captured from dashboard and body cameras and a 911 dispatch call to detail how Thomas allegedly pulled a firearm on a person at a Shiprock gas station then led law enforcement on a pursuit before he was fatally shot.

The video starts by playing a 911 phone call to dispatch, where a woman states a man in a blue Toyota Corolla was driving erratically and pulled a gun on her.

The incident occurred at the Speedway gas station in Shiprock at the intersections of U.S. highways 64 and 491.

The video then describes how the vehicle drove eastbound on U.S. Highway 64 toward the Speedway gas station in Waterflow.

It is also revealed in the video that the Toyota was a stolen vehicle, but no additional information is shared.

Video footage shows how deputies used “stop sticks” on the vehicle to blow out its tires but Thomas kept driving the car.

The video depicts how Thomas fled police, repeatedly starting and stopping the vehicle along the highway in the Waterflow area.

It is when the Toyota makes a U-turn, the video pauses and zooms in on Thomas allegedly pointing the handgun at deputies.

The video then shows what occurred before Thomas was shot and killed.

He stops the vehicle in the median of the highway and steps out the car. Thomas reaches into the waistband of his pants before getting back inside the vehicle.

Shawn Thomas is seen in a screen capture of a July 11 video from a San Juan County Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle along U.S. Highway 64. A deputy shot and killed Thomas as he allegedly pulled a gun on a law enforcement officer.

“It was at this time a deputy approaches the rear of the vehicle, the deputy observes a firearm in Thomas' hand pointed in the direction of his sergeant and responds to the threat by firing at the subject,” the narrator states in the video.

After the deputy fires on the vehicle, the Toyota travels south, off the highway, and crashes into a tree.

When the sergeant’s body camera footage is shown, the video pauses and zooms in on Thomas’ hand, which reportedly held the firearm.

Thomas’ body is pixelated in the video as deputies tend to his injuries. The video footage also shows fire engulfing the Toyota.

The video ends with Ferrari speaking about the incident and giving his condolences to Thomas’ family.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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