The trial for a Key West man accused of shooting a Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputy during a 2015 gun battle on the streets of Stock Island is scheduled to begin Monday in the Upper Keys.
Timothy Eugene Thomas III, 27, is charged with attempted first-degree murder on a law enforcement officer, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if he's convicted. He's also charged with fleeing at a high speed, armed burglary and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
A jury has been selected and the trial is expected to begin at 9 a.m. at the Plantation Key courthouse at 88820 Overseas Hwy.
Deputies and Key West police officers were looking for Thomas on Oct. 24, 2015, because he was a suspect in an armed robbery on Flagler Avenue near Key West High School that happened nine days earlier. Deputy Josh Gordon spotted Thomas driving a Ford Mustang on Sunshine Street and Third Avenue in Stock Island and pulled him over.
As Gordon and another deputy approached the car, Thomas opened fire several times, striking Gordon once in the chest, according to an arrest affidavit written by Deputy Manuel Cuervo. Gordon's bullet-proof vest stopped the round. Lying on the ground, the deputy returned fire.
Thomas got back into his car and drove it to Second Avenue and Fifth Street, where he got out of the vehicle and ran away.
"At this point, both the suspect and Deputy Gordon's marked patrol vehicle had multiple gunshot strikes," Cuervo wrote.
Police located Thomas the next day at a home on VonPhister Street in Key West. When contacted by phone, he told officers he needed medical help. He had been shot during the firefight — once in the back, once in the shoulder.
After several hours of negotiations, he surrendered.
"Thomas made spontaneous utterances that police fired upon him first," Cuervo wrote in his report.