Thanksgiving Day ended in sadness and heartbreak for most of Freestone and Limestone Counties as news spread of the shooting death of Department of Public Safety Trooper Damon Allen.
At about 3:45 p.m., Trooper Allen, 41, of Mexia (working for Freestone & Limestone Counties) made a routine traffic stop at the 194 mile marker in the southbound lane of Interstate 45 near Dew.
Trooper Allen made contact with the driver, identified at Dabrett Black, 32, black male, of Lindale. When he returned to his patrol unit, Black followed him with a rifle and opened fire through the patrol unit window. As Trooper Allen opened his door to return fire, he was struck in the head by a bullet and died on the scene.
Black fled in a four-door, champagne-colored Chevrolet Malibu with Texas license plates. At this point, a massive man-hunt ensued throughout most of central Texas; and I-45 Southbound was closed for several hours as DPS Crime Scene Investigators worked the scene.
Later that evening, Black was spotted on foot in Waller County (Northwest of Houston) where he again shot at law enforcement.
K-9 Officer Odin and his partner, Deputy Andrew Blauser of Waller County Sheriff’s Office were brought in to assist with apprehending the suspect.
At approximately 8:45 p.m., Black was in cuffs and being treated for bite wounds prior to being taken to Brazos County Jail. He is expected to be transported to Freestone County Jail, where he will face his justice.
Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, Theresa Farris, pronounced Trooper Allen deceased at 3:45 p.m. and his body was sent to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas (IFSD) for an autopsy.
Many brothers in arms gathered at IFSD to greet and salute Trooper Allen as he arrived late Thursday evening.
The official preliminary autopsy report, signed by Examining Pathologist Chester Gwin, M.D., states cause of death as homicide by rifle wound to the head.
“Our DPS family is heartbroken tonight after one of Texas’ finest law enforcement officers was killed in the line of duty,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Damon Allen was a loving husband and father of three, and we ask for your prayers for his entire family and his many friends and colleagues during the difficult days ahead. Trooper Allen’s dedication to duty, and his bravery and selfless sacrifice on this Thanksgiving Day, will never be forgotten.”
Freestone County Sheriff, Jeremy Shipley, thanks the following for their help in apprehending the suspect: K9 Odin and his partner Deputy Blauser, Waller County Deputies, Criminal Investigative Division, SWAT, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas DPS Helicopter, Texas Rangers, Grimes County Sheriff’s Office, Hempstead Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Houston Police Department and their K9, Texas Department of Criminal Justice PACK Dogs, Austin County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Pct 4, Waller Police Department, and Colorado County Sheriff’s Office.
“The state of Texas has the finest law enforcement in the nation,” says Sheriff Shipley. “Today, like we always do, we came together. We worked together. And, through the tears we carried out our duty and apprehended the suspect of this heinous crime. This suspect will face justice for the State of Texas”
The case is being investigated by the Texas Rangers and at present being reviewed by Freestone County Attorney Brian Evans for prosecution.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Texas State Trooper Damon Allen who lost his life in the line of duty yesterday afternoon,” says DA Evans.
In July, Black was jailed in Smith County following a car chase with deputies that ended when he struck a patrol vehicle; and both he and the deputy were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Black was charged with evading arrest and aggravated assault on a public servant, and reckless driving; but was out on bail.
Trooper Allen has served with DPS since 2002. He leaves behind a wife, three children, and many loved ones.