WALLER COUNTY, Texas – A man suspected of shooting a Texas state trooper to death during a traffic stop on Thanksgiving was apprehended by a K-9 officer and taken into custody Thursday evening, troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
The suspect, identified as 32-year-old Dabrett Black, was on the run from authorities after an alert was issued for his vehicle following the shooting death of Trooper Damon Allen, 41.
Investigators said Allen stopped Black, who was driving a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu, around 4 p.m. for a traffic violation on I-45 in Freestone County south of Fairfield in Freestone County.
Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith told KPRC 2 reporter Robert Arnold during a phone interview that Allen ran Black's information and found that there was a warrant for his arrest for a parole violation with a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Smith said Allen was walking back to Black's vehicle when Black fired several shots at Allen from an a AK-47-style rifle. Allen died at the scene, investigators said.
Black drove away. An alert was put out for Black's vehicle, Smith said.
A Waller County sergeant spotted Black's Malibu on Highway 290 and pulled him over on a back road at the intersection of Liendo Parkway and Wyatt Chapel near Prairie View after calling for backup, according to Smith. While stopped, Black got out of the car holding the rifle, which Smith said appeared to have a 100-round drum. Gunfire was exchanged between Black, the sergeant and the DPS trooper, who was called for backup.
"The individual got out of the vehicle with, of course, what was later determined an AK-style rifle, and shots were fired," Smith said. "It was an AK-47-style, pistol grip-style with what looked like a hundred-round drum magazine."
After the shooting, Black dropped the weapon and ran, Smith said.
"He dropped his rifle and ran into a pasture. It's a rural area with barn houses, of course, hay bales and things," he said.
Sheriff's, DPS troopers, DPS helicopters, the Waller and Harris County SWAT teams with armored vehicles, and K-9 units searched for Black and spotted him at the edge of the woods. Authorities called for Black to, "Come out, out," Smith said.
When Black finally came to the edge of the woods he still would not comply with authorities demands, Smith said. A K-9 unit was deployed, and the dog grabbed Black by the shoulder and took him down.
Black was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound to his lower left leg and a dog bite, Smith said.
"(The wound was) through-and-through. (He was) taken to hospital in Bryan, then to Brazos County jail," Smith said.
Suspect in today’s fatal TXDPS trooper shooting in Freestone County has been captured in Waller County near Prairie View. Excellent operation by numerous agencies to take this suspect into custody with no additional casualties. #wallercounty #txdps #freestonecounty— Navarro County OEM (@NavarroOEM) November 24, 2017
Smith said he was grateful no one else was hurt.
"You're in a rural area, you got citizens in their homes, you got officers everywhere doing a search for the individual," Smith said. "We all want to go home to our families, like everybody does in this world.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released the following statement regarding the shooting:
“I am saddened to hear of the tragic death of a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper killed today in Freestone County. This trooper died selflessly serving Texas. Please join Angela and me as we pray for the trooper’s family and for the entire Department of Public Safety.”
Allen joined the department in 2002. He was given a lifesaving award for helping save a man's life in April.
He leaves behind his wife of 24 years, Kasey and their three daughters and a son.
"Our DPS family is heartbroken tonight after one of Texas' finest law enforcement officers was killed in the line of duty," DPS Director Steven McCraw said. "Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Damon Allen was a loving husband and father of three, and we ask for your prayers for his entire family and his many friends and colleagues during the difficult days ahead. Trooper Allen's dedication to duty, and his bravery and selfless sacrifice on this Thanksgiving Day, will never be forgotten."
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted his condolences.
"Sad on Thanksgiving to lose one of our state troopers in the line of duty. Prayers for his family. Swift justice for his killer," he wrote.
"The killer will face justice, and the state of Texas will continue to offer our unwavering support for the men and women in law enforcement who keep our communities safe," Abbott later said in a statement.
Harris County Constable Precinct 1 on Friday posted its condolences to Facebook along with a picture of Allen.
"Our hearts are filled with sadness as we learn of the passing of DPS Trooper Damon Allen. Allen was killed in the line of duty on Thanksgiving day," the post said.
Our hearts are filled with sadness as we learn of the passing of DPS Trooper Damon Allen. Allen was killed in the line of duty on Thanksgiving day.Posted by Office of Constable Alan Rosen, Harris County Constable Precinct 1 on Friday, November 24, 2017
The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office recognized the peace officer, father and husband on its Facebook page.
"We'll hold the line from here," the post said in part.
A long line of deputies escorted Allen's body to Dallas, where several fellow troopers saluted as it arrived.
Black, who has an extensive record, was charged last month with aggravated assault of a public servant and evading arrest in Smith County.
He was sent to Brazos County jail and transferred to Freestone County Jail Friday , where he faces charges of capital murder.
Smith said Black could face charges in Waller County as well for aggravated assault on a peace officer or capital murder of a peace officer.