HOUSTON – Dashcam video released by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Monday showed Danny Thomas, unarmed, walking toward Deputy Cameron Brewer just before Brewer opened fire.
Brewer happened to be driving in the area, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said, and was not responding to a call for service. Thomas can be seen in the video walking in the middle of an intersection with his pants around his ankles.
When Brewer parked near the intersection in his police SUV, dashcam video shows Thomas approaching another driver, who shoves him. Thomas then points in Brewer’s direction and walks toward him.
Brewer can be heard shouting commands at Thomas, but is not seen in the video: “Get back! Get back! Get down! I’ll shoot you!”
Witness videos and the dashcam footage all show Thomas appearing to ignore Brewer’s commands, walking toward the deputy, his hands at his side, as the deputy back-peddles. Brewer shouts nearly a dozen commands in 15 seconds before shooting Thomas in the chest.
The shot can be heard in dash cam and witness videos, but not seen. It happens just out of frame in two videos, and is obscured by a truck driving by in the third video.
“We hold the public’s trust as sacred, and we know that this trust must be earned every single day,” Gonzalez said. “I will personally see to it that our investigation is conducted fairly, thoroughly, and expeditiously.”
Gonzalez called the video “concerning” and said his office would be “transparent and thorough” in its investigation into whether Brewer violated policy. That investigation is expected to take 30 days.
Brewer was issued a body camera on Thursday, the day of the shooting, Gonzalez said, but was not wearing it at the time. The camera was apparently charging in the car.
Possible repercussions for violating policy could include suspension or termination, Gonzalez said.
Brewer initially told internal investigators that he opened fire because he feared for his life, and believed Thomas might have had something in his hand, Gonzalez said. Thomas was unarmed.