NEW DETAILS: Attempted murder suspect released from jail

KNWA

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — New details have emerged about a search warrant that was served on Deane Street on Friday, September 13.

Lionel Thomas, 21, was arrested for attempted capital murder after he reportedly fired a shot towards police.

Thomas was booked into Washington County Jail a day after the shooting. The judge, Washington County Circuit Judge Joanna Taylor, ordered a $5,000 bond and Thomas posted bond and has since been released.

According to a preliminary report, officers breached a bedroom window while announcing, “police, search warrant.” Police were serving a search warrant at the house concerning suspects trafficking narcotics and carrying firearms.

A no-knock exception was included with the warrant. A tactical team comprised of three officers, one from Springdale and two from Fayetteville, that were involved in the breaching.

During that process, two gunshots were heard and their team was fired upon.

The projectile impacted within inches of an officer’s neck, face and head. The round was so close in proximity to him that he had sheetrock dust and debris on his chest, face and firearm.

After the shots were fired, the suspect fled from the bedroom into the hallway in an attempt to enter the other bedroom. Officers already inside the residence gave the suspect verbal commands and he complied.

Thomas was identified as the suspect and was arrested. The leaseholder/roommate was also taken into custody for misdemeanor warrants.

Thomas provided a statement to police saying he awoke in the morning to hear his bedroom window being broken. He said they were victims of a burglary several days ago, so he was sleeping with a gun next to his bed.

Once he saw someone actively breaking his window, he fired at the side of the window. He said he then heard someone yell, “shots fired, shots fired” and realized at that moment it was the police department.

Thomas states he threw his gun on the bed and ran to the other bedroom to try to get in the room with his roommate, but the door was locked.

The preliminary report says Thomas was cooperative during the investigation and denied knowing he was shooting at the police.

Officers’ body cameras were reviewed and it was determined the officers breached the window and gave clear and concise verbal announcements including, “police” and “search warrant.” It was after those announcements the rounds were fired at officers.

The Fourth Judicial Drug Task Force will have additional charges on Thomas and his roommate related to narcotics trafficking and the weapon seized.

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