Toddler safe after tense standoff in northwest Houston

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HOUSTON, TX –  A tense standoff in a parking lot in northwest Houston ended peacefully, although at first, that didn’t seem to be the possible outcome.

It all started Friday night August 8 with authorities in Austin, Texas issuing an Amber Alert for two-year old Cheyenne Johnson, who was taken by her father Jesse William Thomas without permission. Cops were worried the suspect might become violent since Thomas had two prior accounts of aggravated assault against officers.

Thomas ended up in Houston, where police chased him a couple of times before finally having a standoff in the parking lot of Petco on Highway 249 and Spring Cypress.

Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Stephen Woodard says, “We know that he was involved in several chases and right now we have him stopped. We have him apprehended with no incident.”

There was no incident but preparations had been made for one since a helicopter was circling the scene and SWAT was called in. Negotiations proved to be difficult at first with Thomas refusing to talk, but after two and half hours, eventually an officer convinced Thomas to let his daughter go.

Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland says, “That child was then taken away. When that child was out of danger, our HROU operators then tased him simultaneously, also, shot him with 40mm less-than-lethal munition which incapacitated him. At that point, he was taken into custody.”

Officials say no one was seriously injured and they don’t have a motive for why Thomas grabbed his daughter to begin with.


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