In an event that seemed stranger than fiction, a Kirbyville man arrived at the Kirbyville Police Department brandishing a toy gun and a very real sword!
KPD Officer Ashley Arce said she was out working the school zone at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday when she received a call from KPD Chief, Paul Brister. Brister told Arce to get back to the Police Department and to bring her tazer. Arce said, "I heard yelling in the background and Chief Brister hung up! I didn't know what was happening, so I turned on my emergency overhead lights and headed 'back to the office'."
When Arce arrived she saw a man lying on his stomach with his hands behind his back yelling. The suspect who has been identified as 38-year-old Bruce E. Thomas of Kirbyville, was arrested last month on August 23rd and was charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon for shooting a vehicle and aiming that same weapon at another Kirbyville Police Officer. Thomas had only been released from jail two hours before pulling this stunt at the Police Department.
Arce said, "Chief Brister was calm and he had his gun out but concealed behind his leg so that the public did not panic as they passed by on the highway". Arce said that she held her tazer on Thomas as Chief Brister handcuffed him.
Thomas was wearing what appeared to be a bulletproof vest. Inside the vest was a scythe, a black pellet gun that looked like a real firearm as well as a sword.
Once disarmed, the initial intention was to send Thomas to the hospital as he said that he needed an ambulance. First Responders checked him out until the ambulance arrived. Thomas was reportedly very agitated and kept yelling that 'they wanted to kill him' and that he had just come to the Police Station to 'Peacefully protest his arrest' three weeks earlier. Allegiance Ambulance Service was in the process of transferring Thomas to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont. They made it to the game room south of Kirbyville when he decided that he no longer wanted mental health help and the attendants legally had to release him.
Arce and a Mental Health Deputy went to find him and located him walking on the side of the highway on the northbound side. The Mental Health Officer and a Spindletop employee spoke with him and determined that he was not in a mental health crisis and said that the only thing wrong with him was that he was mad at the police for his previous arrest. Thomas was taken to his home.
That night, Arce said that Thomas was definitely on the warpath and harassed the officers on duty all night.
The following day, Thomas was again harassing officers, including Arce, so he was arrested on an Obstruction or Retaliation warrant just after noon Thursday.
Thomas went before Justice of the Peace Mike Smith who gave him a $50,000 bond. Upon reconsidering the case and the safety of everyone involved, he was instead held without bond.