Felon convicted in shooting of Miami Gardens police officer

Randy Antonio Thomas could face life in prison

Randy Thomas
Randy Thomas

MIAMI – A federal jury convicted a man who shot at a police officer during a "dramatic firefight" in Miami Gardens last year, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Randy Antonio Thomas, 45, still has more charges pending in Miami-Dade court. He was accused of shooting at a 25-year old Miami Gardens police officer Jan. 11, 2014.

With a long criminal history that goes back to 1990 and includes battery on a pregnant woman, the convicted felon also faced a federal charge for possession of a firearm. Following a three-day trial, a federal jury found him guilty. 

For years, Randy Thomas had a habit of driving without a valid driver's license. In 1993, Thomas was accused of being involved in a burglary and was also in trouble for domestic violence, records show. A few years later, he was involved in another burglary and assault with a deadly weapon. And then there was another burglary in 2001 and grand theft in 2005.

Last year, he was accused of trying to kill a police officer. The unidentified police officer was one of two partaking in "a routine response to the scene of a fight" between Thomas and two women, federal prosecutors said in a statement. 

One of the police officers was talking to the women, when Thomas began to walk away from the apartment complex, 2170 NW 183 St., in Miami Gardens, police said.

The other police officer followed Thomas and said he asked him to stop.

Surveillance video shows "Thomas spun around with a pistol in his hand" and chased after the officer. A witness told police Thomas shot at the police officer, who eventually was able to fire back. His partner also fired at Thomas. 

"Undeterred, Thomas chased down the officer, and fired several shots at him, striking the officer in the leg and causing him to collapse on the sidewalk," prosecutors said.

Another officer arrived during the shooting, Det. Mike Wright said. She testified that she "pulled up in a patrol car" and saw Thomas "standing with his arm extended and shooting at the fallen officer."  The officer was shot in the thigh, police said. 

Helen Brown told Local 10 News that she saw Thomas was also injured.

"He was bleeding from the head," Brown said. "They had him in handcuffs."

Rescue took both Thomas and the unidentified police officer to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. Thomas was booked into jail the next day. His mug shot showed a wound on his forehead that required stitching.

Police Chief Stephen E. Johnson helped U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo A. Ferrer and Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Hugo J. Barrera with the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Cristina Moreno and Francisco Maderal were the prosecutors in the case.

His sentencing in federal court is scheduled for 2 p.m., April 24. The federal charge carries a minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of a life sentence. He is also facing attempted murder on a police officer in Miami-Dade County. His next hearing is Feb. 26 with Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat.

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