DALLAS — The suspect in the fatal shooting of a state trooper in East Texas during a Thanksgiving Day traffic stop was charged Friday with capital murder of a law enforcement officer.
Dabrett Black, 32, was being held in the Brazos County jail in Bryan, Texas, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Houston. He is accused in the shooting death of Trooper Damon Allen on Thursday.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said in social media posts late Thursday that Allen initiated a traffic stop shortly before 4 p.m. on Interstate 45 near Fairfield, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Dallas. DPS said Black shot Allen with a rifle after the trooper walked back to his vehicle.
Allen died at the scene, DPS officials said. He had been with the department since 2002 and was married with three children.
DPS said Black, of Lindale, Texas, fled the scene in a car and was spotted about three hours later more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Fairfield, in Waller County. Waller County sheriff’s officers posted on Facebook that deputies were attempting to take Black into custody when shots were fired. It was not clear from the statement who opened fire.
Black fled on foot and was taken into custody after being found in a nearby field. He was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
No bond had been set as of early Friday afternoon, but officials said a bond hearing would likely be held later in the day.
According to court and jail records, Black has a history of evading arrest and violent run-ins with law enforcement officers.
Smith County court records show Black was indicted last month after he led police on a chase and rammed his car into a police cruiser in July. Court records show he was charged with aggravated assault of a public servant and evading arrest or detention with a vehicle. Jail records show that he was out on bond on those charges and that the bond had been recalled as insufficient due to the new charges.
Smith County court records also show Black was charged in 2015 with assault on a public servant and attempting to take a weapon from an officer. Those charges were dismissed in 2016, but records didn’t explain why.
Brazos County jail records also showed Black was facing a charge of evading arrest with a vehicle in Anderson County, east of where the shooting occurred Thursday. Details of the charges, including the date of the alleged offense, were unclear from those records that said his bond had been forfeited. A call to Anderson County court officials was not immediately returned Friday.
A call to a court-appointed attorney representing Black in the Smith County charges was also not immediately returned Friday. It was unclear from Brazos County records whether Black has an attorney representing him in the capital murder case.
Several Texas officials reacted to Allen’s death. In a tweet, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz offered “prayers for the family and loved ones” of the trooper.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Allen’s shooting death a “heinous crime” in a statement Thursday. Abbott also expressed his “most sincere condolences” to the trooper’s family.