‘I am going to need somebody:’ SWAT standoff, fatal shooting started with a call for help

A man was shot and killed by a Butler County Sheriff's Office deputy on Tuesday morning, Jan. 12, 2021, at the Lakota Pointe Townhomes. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
A man was shot and killed by a Butler County Sheriff's Office deputy on Tuesday morning, Jan. 12, 2021, at the Lakota Pointe Townhomes. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

An hourslong Liberty Twp. standoff that started Monday evening ended with the suspect shot and killed by law enforcement, officials said.

Deputies were first called just after 5 p.m. to a domestic violence report in the 6800 block of Yoakum Court in the Lakota Pointe Townhomes, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect, Junius Thomas, had kicked in the door, and the female resident called 911.

The woman who made the 911 call fled. Thomas was armed and “extremely agitated” when deputies arrived, the sheriff’s office said. Deputies, who were briefly inside the residence but unable to take Thomas into custody, called for the SWAT team after exiting, the sheriff’s office said. Contact continued with Thomas until there were about 90 minutes without communication.

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That’s when the SWAT team used an armored vehicle to open the door, hoping to use a robot to check on Thomas. But Thomas closed the door, and when SWAT members again used the armored vehicle to open the door, Thomas “appeared in the doorway and raised his gun” toward the team members, the sheriff’s office said.

That’s when a deputy shot Thomas, 31 and he died at the scene. The deputy, who has not been identified, is an eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s office, according to a news release. The deputy has been placed on administrative leave pending the conclusion of the investigation per department policy, according to Butler County Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer.

“This is never the end result we look for in this type of incident but unfortunately, for the safety of the community and our law enforcement officers, it was a necessary one,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

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In the call to dispatchers, the upset woman said she previously called about the domestic situation. But said it was now an emergency.

“I am going to need somebody immediately,” the woman told the dispatcher.

The woman said the man “kicked my door in and he has guns and he won’t leave. It told him not to come in here, he came anyway.”

Dwyer said deputies went to the residence previously and no one answered the door.

When officers arrived a second time, they spent about an hour in the residence trying to talk to Thomas, Dwyer said. He had his gun holstered, but continued to become more agitated, pacing and touching the butt of the gun.

“He obviously had some issues they were trying to mitigate the situation and calm him down. The opportunity to take him into custody didn’t present itself. They then backed out. He shut the door and we called for the negotiators as they are better equipped to try to talk somebody out of the situation,” Dwyer said.

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