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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 22, 2018

Felon Who Shot At Plant City Police Officers Ordered To Serve Statutory Maximum Sentence Of 15 Years

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday today sentenced Isaac Thomas (Winter Haven, 25) to 15 years in federal prison for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon and for possessing a firearm in a school zone. Judge Merryday said Thomas is an immediate and lethal threat to the community and stated that the court had only “one intelligent” option, before sentencing him to the statutory maximum sentence. Thomas pleaded guilty on August 24, 2017.        

According to evidence presented during the six-hour sentencing hearing, in January 2017, Thomas and several others were ejected from a Plant City High School basketball game for fighting. They then moved to a parking lot near the school, where fighting again broke out. When officers from the Plant City Police Department responded to the scene in marked vehicles with lights and sirens activated, all but Thomas dispersed. He stood in the middle of the road as the  officers arrived, aimed his weapon toward the oncoming vehicles, and fired. He then led the officers on a foot and high-speed vehicle chase that ended with Thomas’s vehicle crashing into a local business. Thomas then exited the damaged vehicle, pointed his firearm at another officer, and was ultimately shot in the buttocks.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Plant City Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Natalie Hirt Adams.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to develop districtwide crime reduction strategies, incorporating the lessons learned since the program’s inception in 2001. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated February 23, 2018