-- A Texas Department of Public Safety police officer was killed in the line of duty on Thanksgiving while conducting a routine traffic stop in Freestone County, authorities said. Freestone County is about 90 miles southeast of Dallas.
According to Texas DPS officials, trooper Damon Allen was returning to his patrol vehicle at about 4 p.m. following the stop when he was shot by a rifle. Allen was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The suspect, 32-year-old Dabrett Montreal Black, fled the scene before being arrested around 9 p.m. in Waller County, just northeast of Houston. Black was taken into custody without incident and is now receiving treatment for a canine bite, police said.
Shortly after news of Allen’s death was released Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement expressing his condolences to the officer’s family, writing on Twitter, “Sad on Thanksgiving to lose one of our state troopers in the line of duty. Prayers for his family. Swift justice for his killer.”
Officials confirmed that Black has a previous criminal history, including drug possession, evading arrest and violence toward law enforcement.
The Denton County District Attorney’s office released a statement on Twitter while the manhunt was still underway, saying, “His arrest history includes violence toward law enforcement officers. We must catch him soon.”
In July, CBS19 in Tyler, Texas reported that Black was jailed in Smith County after a car chase with deputies. The chase ended when Black struck a patrol vehicle, injuring both himself and a deputy. Neither was seriously injured. Black was charged with evading arrest, aggravated assault against a public servant and reckless driving.
“Our DPS family is heartbroken tonight after one of Texas’ finest law enforcement officers was killed in the line of duty,” DPS officer Steven McGraw said in a statement. “Highway Patrol Trooper Allen was a loving husband and father of three. ... Trooper Allen’s dedication to duty, and his bravery and selfless sacrifice on this Thanksgiving Day will never be forgotten.”