The footage showed that when police arrived around 9:19 p.m., officers could hear Thomas ranting, making threatening statements such as “I am ready for a shootout.” Stiegelmeyer said officers feared Thomas’ wife and a child might have been harmed or were in harm’s way and at 9:20 p.m. knocked on the front door.
That’s when Thomas started to open the door and said, “‘I will shoot you in your head’ and began firing a handgun at officers,” Stiegelmeyer said.
Officers returned fire and retreated as Thomas closed the front door and barricaded himself inside.
The three officers who fired their duty weapons were identified by Stiegelmeyer as detective Scott Miller, a 25-year police veteran with 16 years with the Miami Twp. Police Department; and officers William “Drew” Olinger, an eight-year police veteran with two years with the Miami Twp. Police Department and Austin Snowden, a 10-year police veteran with eight months with the Miami Twp. Police Department. They are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
Police immediately requested the Montgomery County Regional SWAT Team for assistance. SWAT team negotiators tried to make contact with Thomas several times. At about 1:24 a.m. Monday, the SWAT team went inside and found Thomas unresponsive in the hallway next to the front door. Medical attention was attempted, but Thomas was pronounced dead at the home, Stiegelmeyer said.
Thomas’ injuries were not self-inflicted, Stiegelmeyer said.
The officer-involved shooting was the second time Miami Twp. police were called that evening to the Thomas home, the chief said.
Earlier Sunday evening, officers responded for a domestic dispute that Stiegelmeyer described as much calmer. Officers tried to deescalate the situation by separating the parties,. and officers drove Thomas to his sister’s house. It is not clear how Thomas returned to the home, the chief said.
Following the shooting, SWAT team members found two handguns inside the residence, including one near Thomas. Police confirmed at least one of the guns was fired three times, the chief said.
They later learned that Thomas’ wife and child were not inside the house during the shootout and standoff.
“No policeman wakes up first thing in the morning and says, ‘oh I’m going to get into a shootout,’” Stiegelmeyer said. “Nobody wants to do that. And second of all, no police officer wakes up and wants to cause harm to anybody. That’s not human nature. Great tragedies happened here two-fold. We lost somebody. My officers involved are going to be affected for the rest of their life because of this. Make no mistake, that’s tragic all the way around and something we can’t take back.”
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.
“BCI was requested by the Miami Twp. PD to conduct an investigation into an officer-involved shooting that occurred overnight,” read an emailed statement. “BCI’s Crime Scene Unit and Special Investigations Unit responded. BCI’s investigation remains active and ongoing.”
Miami Twp. police previously had numerous contacts with Thomas, including several domestic violence complaints, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, Stiegelmeyer said.
In addition, Thomas is a convicted felon who is not permitted to possess guns who has had other arrests for crimes such as felonious assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a police officer, robbery and felony drug possession.