Dec 22, 2015 4:42 PM by News Staff
Paradise Mayor Jody Jones released a statement Tuesday, addressing the death of Andrew Thomas, the man shot by an officer on Thanksgiving, and the cloud of controversy hanging over her town.
Thomas, 26, passed away Saturday night at Enloe Medical Center. He was shot by Paradise Officer Patrick Feaster early Thanksgiving morning as he was getting out of his wrecked SUV after a suspected drunken driving crash.
Read the mayor’s full statement here:
The Town of Paradise is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Andrew Thomas, who was shot by a Town of Paradise police officer following a driving under the influence incident and roll over collision that killed Darien Ehorn, a passenger in Mr. Thomas’ vehicle.
We share the sense of grief and dismay over these deaths that many in our community have expressed. Everyone in our Town wishes this incident had a different outcome and extend our sympathy to the families of Mr. Thomas and Ms. Ehorn.
The Town of Paradise Police Department is conducting an investigation into the incident that led to the death of Mr. Thomas. The investigation will be thorough and impartial in its review of every aspect of the Town’s response, including the shooting of Mr. Thomas and the delay in information becoming known to supervising officers involved at the accident scene. The investigation is underway and will take some time to complete. The officer involved in the shooting will remain on administrative leave until this process is concluded.
At the same time, the Town has and will continue to cooperate in every way with any investigation by the District Attorney’s Office and any other agency that investigates the case. Any decision regarding the criminal disposition of this case rests solely with the district attorney, and not with the Town. Our objective is to learn everything we can from this incident and the review of it now underway. The Town expects this review to be a thorough one and is prepared to accept any finding that helps us improve how we fulfill our duty to protect and serve the people of the Town of Paradise.
While this critical process is underway, please understand that we are limited in our ability to discuss the case publicly. In the interim, on behalf of all Town employees and management, the consideration and patience of the community during this very difficult time is appreciated.
Mayor, Town of Paradise
District Attorney Mike Ramsey released dash cam video of the shooting on December 10, and announced that his office would not be pressing charges against Feaster.
Ramsey says his office will be reevaluating the case in the wake of Thomas’ death.
Thomas, who had a blood-alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit, was facing a charge of vehicular manslaughter due to his wife dying in the crash.