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Friends, family dispute FWPD account of fatal shooting

Police said 32-year-old Charal Thomas of Fort Worth rolled up the window of his SUV on the arm of an arresting police officer and sped away with the officer clinging to the vehicle.
Friends and family members dispute the police account of what happened when Charal Thomas was fatally shot by an officer on Monday night.

FORT WORTH A Fort Worth police officer shot and killed a man who was dragging him alongside his SUV on Monday night.

The family of Charal Thomas is now raising questions about the shooting and how it happened.

Thomas was coming out of a gas station at East Rosedale Street and Loop 820 when the officer pulled him over.

Thomas had warrants, and when the officer tried to arrest him, police say Thomas hit the gas and dragged the officer for two blocks.

The officer opened fire, killing Thomas. Three of his children were in the back seat at the time.

They saw everything.

Thomas' shooting death has sent a wave of anger and suspicion rolling through the African-American community in southeast Fort Worth where the shooting happened.

They hurt. They want to voice their opinion because it happens all the time in the black community, said Pastor Randolph Shaheed.

Fort Worth police say a uniformed officer stopped Thomas about 7 o'clock Monday night on the service road of Loop 820 near Rosedale Street. Undercover officers had asked for the stop after doing narcotics surveillance.

According to police, the officer tried to arrest Thomas on outstanding warrants.

At that point, police say Thomas rolled up his window, trapping the officer's arm inside, and then sped away toward the freeway.

Jumps on the running board to keep from getting drug by the car, because his arm is inside the vehicle, and he can't get it out at that point, said Lance Wyatt, the unnamed officer's attorney.

The officer fired multiple shots, killing Thomas.

Three of his children ages 11, 8 and 7 were in the back seat.

I don't feel he got justice on that, said Tyrone Sauls, a friend of Thomas. It's bad about that, you understand? In front of his children.

The youngest of those children came to the a park rally Tuesday with her mother. Relatives and friends say Charal Thomas known to all as Ra-Ra fathered five or six children with various women.

His cousin said Thomas had only one leg because he lost the other in a shooting when he was just 12 years old.

Thomas' cousin Kisha Eldridge disputed the official police account of what happened Monday night. I don't believe he would drive off with his kids in the back; I don't believe that, she said.

Records show Thomas served a brief time in jail on drug charges about ten years ago.

His friends say Ra-Ra was just a happy guy who made everyone smile.

The smiles are now gone.

Thomas's friends and relatives say they'll rally at 7 o'clock Tuesday night. They're demanding an outside investigation of the shooting.

The officer who fired the fatal shots was treated for minor injuries.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com