MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The accused killer in the New Year’s Eve mass shooting in downtown Mobile will be held without bond under Aniah’s law, which aims to keep particularly dangerous and violent offenders off the streets. A detention hearing was held Thursday afternoon for Thomas Thomas, who is accused of opening fire on Dauphin Street and killing Jatarius Rieves.
A homicide detective testified 22 shots were fired that night. The call to police came in at 11:14 PM. Four officers were in the immediate proximity. In total, 10 people were shot. One of the shooting victims told the detective it sounded like a machine gun. Police testified Thomas had a 40 caliber Glock handgun with an extended clip and modified it illegally by putting a switch on it, which turns semi-automatic guns into automatic ones. Police say ballistic evidence shows he fired 16 of the 22 shots. One of those struck Jatarius Rieves in the head. Another person 23-year-old Morgan Peters fired back 6 shots. He was also critically wounded.
Surveillance video captured the shooting and moments leading up to it. Both sides conceded the incident appeared to begin with words exchanged. But the defense claims after those words were exchanged, Rieves was the aggressor, and Thomas acted in self-defense.
“He said, ‘I’m going to shoot.’ I don’t wish to cuss on the news, but ‘I wish to shoot you.’ And then when he came back, pull this up. He thought he was pulling the gun to shoot it. I mean, it’s that simple. And unfortunately, not only is he denied bond, but he’s not going to be able to get an immunity hearing until he gets to circuit court,” said defense attorney Chase Dearman.
The court room was packed, and there were some tense moments in court. The judge ordered no contact between the two sides. The Public Safety Director, as well as Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine were in attendance, which is unusual for pretrial hearings.
“This is a new law and we want to make sure certainly that the judicial system, we want to make sure that the prosecutors are understanding just how important this law is for us and certainly for Mobilians here in the city,” said Prine.
The detention hearing district court also served as Thomas’ preliminary hearing. The case will now go to a grand jury. Thomas’ defense attorney says he plans to appeal the no bond order.
Original Article found here.
By Andrea Ramey
Thursday, January 12th 2023