On January 11, 2014, what began as a routine response to the scene of a fight at a Miami Gardens apartment complex ended in a dramatic firefight when Randy Thomas, 45, opened fire on a 25-year old police officer with Miami Gardens Police Department. Following a three-day trial, a federal jury convicted defendant Randy Thomas of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Stephen E. Johnson, Chief, Miami Gardens Police Department, Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Division, made the announcement.
Following a call to 911, two police officers with Miami Gardens Police Department responded to the scene of a fight between Thomas and two women at an apartment complex. While one officer diverted his attention to the females, the second officer attended to Thomas, who had begun walking away. The officer testified that he was unaware that Thomas was armed as he casually approached Thomas and asked him to stop. The officer then recounted how Thomas spun around with a pistol in his hand and pointed it at the officer who was just four feet away. The evidence at trial also included a surveillance video that showed Thomas abruptly turning with his arm extended and then chasing after the officer.
A bystander described in chilling detail how the officer stepped back in shock when Thomas pulled a gun from his waistband and began to chase and shoot at the officer. The officer sought safety while retrieving his own firearm. The officer fired several shots at Thomas in an attempt to disarm Thomas. Undeterred, Thomas chased down the officer, and fired several shots at him, striking the officer in the leg and causing him to collapse on the sidewalk. The second officer testified that he witnessed the entire altercation and discharged his own firearm when he saw Thomas chasing and shooting at the officer. Yet another officer, who arrived at the moment of the shooting, testified that she pulled up in a patrol car at the precise moment of the shooting, and saw Thomas standing with his arm extended and shooting at the fallen officer.
Forensic analysis helped link the firearm to Thomas. The officer, who sustained a bullet wound to the thigh and received medical treatment at Ryder Trauma, has since recovered fully from his injuries.
At sentencing, which is currently set for April 24, 2015, at 2:00 p.m., Thomas faces a minimum of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum of a life sentence for his conviction of the federal crime of being a felon in possession of firearm. He also faces prosecution in a state case in which he is charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.
Mr. Ferrer commended the Miami Gardens Police Department for their efforts in the investigation of this case. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms for their assistance and cooperation in this matter. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Moreno and Francisco Maderal.