Florida Keys

Monroe Sheriff’s Office: Robbery suspect who shot Keys deputy is in custody

Timothy Thomas
Timothy Thomas

After being on the run for nearly a day, the robbery suspect who detectives say shot at Keys deputies Saturday night and then got away was arrested Sunday evening at a home in Key West, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office announced.

Timothy Thomas, 25, who was wanted for an Oct. 5 robbery at a home near Key West High School, was considered “armed and dangerous,” the sheriff’s office said.

“We were not going to let this guy remain at large where he was a threat to law enforcement and to the community,” Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a statement.

The search began late Saturday night after Thomas fired at deputies, who were on the lookout for a robbery suspect. Deputy Josh Gordon was hit in the chest but escaped with minor injuries, thanks to his bullet-proof vest.

“I am so thankful that Deputy Gordon is safe and uninjured,” Ramsay said in a statement early Sunday. “Just a few inches one way or another, and the outcome would have been very different. This just shows you how a call can turn violent in an instant.”

Gordon and other deputies were looking for a black Ford Mustang with the robbery suspect inside. The deputies spotted the car at about 9:45 p.m. on Stock Island.

When the driver saw the deputies’ vehicles, he sped up, according to the sheriff’s office.

Thomas drove through the intersection at Fifth Street and Third Avenue but hit a stop sign, which stopped the vehicle.

“When they attempted to stop the car, the suspect opened fire, striking Deputy Gordon in the chest,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Becky Herrin said Sunday morning.

The deputies fired back and hid behind their patrol cars, according to the sheriff’s office.

Gordon was taken to Lower Keys Hospital on Stock Island and was released after treatment, Herrin said.

Deputies set up a perimeter on Big Coppitt Key, where he was thought to be hiding.

Assisting in the search: the Monroe County sheriff’s SWAT team; Key West police, including their Special Response Team and K-9 officers; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; the Florida Highway Patrol; the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Miami-Dade Police Department’s helicopter and K-9 team and members of their SWAT team; and Customs and Border Protection’s helicopter.

On Sunday, the sheriff’s office learned that Thomas, who had two gunshot wounds from the exchange of gunfire the night before, was hiding inside a home at 1711 Von Phister Street in Key West. Sheriff’s Office and Key West Police set up a perimeter around the house and eventually convinced Thomas to come out.

“Our officers, with the assistance of many other agencies, worked tirelessly, chasing down leads until we got him,” Ramsay said in the statement. “The teamwork we have between agencies and with the community helped resolve this situation without any further violence.”