Ryan Brett Thomas, of Satellite Beach, killed in I-95 shootout with Indian River deputies
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Sheriff’s officials have identified the Brevard County man killed Friday night in a shootout with Indian River deputies on Interstate 95.
Deputies said they exchanged gunfire with Ryan Brett Thomas, 41, of Satellite Beach, in the median of I-95 near Vero Lake Estates about 9:45 p.m., following a chase that began in Brevard County.
Officials said Thomas fired at an unmarked patrol truck when the deputy blocked Thomas’ pickup from escaping across the median at mile marker 152, about midway between State Road 60 and County Road 512. Two deputies returned fire and struck Thomas, killing him.
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Neither of the deputies nor a K-9 at the scene were injured. At least two shots struck the deputy’s vehicle, officials said.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Maj. Eric Flowers said southbound traffic was shut down after Thomas entered the county; northbound lanes were closed as the shooting began. Traffic remained blocked for several hours after incident.
The deputies were placed on paid administrative leave pending review, in accordance with department protocol, officials said.
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Thomas was wanted in Brevard County for violation of probation on charges of felony drug possession from 2017, court records showed. Officials described Thomas as a “career criminal” with 20 felony arrests and seven convictions since 1996.
The exchange was the culmination of a chase that began about 9 p.m. near Cocoa, officials said. Thomas, driving a pickup with a flatbed trailer, was pursued south on I-95 by Brevard deputies and a sheriff’s helicopter.
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He crossed into Indian River County shortly after dropping off two passengers at a rest stop north of the county line, officials said. The passengers told deputies Thomas was armed with an AR-15 rifle and a handgun.
After deputies disabled his tires with stop sticks, Thomas attempted a U-turn through the median, where the shooting occurred.
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Contact Rogers at 772-978-2224 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @EricRogersFT.