Houston police was caught on camera fatally shooting 34-year-old Danny Ray Thomas, who was black and unarmed, on Thursday. His death of comes on the heels of another officer-involved shooting that claimed the life of Stephon Clark in Sacramento. While the Sacramento incident was captured on police body cams, a Snapchat video first obtained by the Houston Chronicle reveals the moments leading up to the recent shooting.
In Houston incident, Thomas can be seen shuffling toward the officer with his arms down and his pants around his ankles. The video does not appear to have captured the shooting and seems to have been taken from a car at a nearby intersection. Witnesses say that Thomas had dropped his pants and started hitting passing cars as he talked to himself.
A driver of one of those vehicles proceeded to get out of his car and tried instigate a physical altercation with Thomas, according to Houston police.. That’s when a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy approached the men.
The deputy, who remains unnamed, says that Thomas began walking towards him despite his commands to stop. An official police statement says, “Fearing for his safety, the deputy discharged his duty weapon, striking Thomas once in the chest.” A spokesperson said the deputy said Thomas was holding “some object,” but later clarified those comments, stating that no weapon was found. This is the fifth fatal officer-involved shooting this year.
Thomas is survived by his sister Marketa Thomas. His wife, Sheborah Thomas, is awaiting trial for allegedly drowning their two children, 5-year-old Kayiana and 7-year-old Araylon, while Danny was in prison for a drug-related offense.