TITLE: Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer leads to a SWAT Call-out
WHEN: Wednesday, April 21st, 2021, at 7:45 PM
WHERE: 7001 Park Blvd (Initiated) / 3910 Ulmerton Rd (Conclusion)
Walter John Brois W/M - DOB 10/29/1971 Jennifer Nicole Thomas W/F - DOB 7/17/1983
WHAT: On April 21, 2021, at 7:45 PM, a Pinellas Park Police Officer was made aware of a vehicle in the parking lot of Sam's Club (7001 Park Blvd) having a possible stolen tag attached to the truck. During the investigation, the officer contacted Walter Brois and Jennifer Thomas as they approached the vehicle. While the officer was speaking with Walter, he entered the driver's seat of the vehicle after being instructed to stay away from the truck. The officer approached the truck's passenger side in an attempt to remove Brois with verbal commands, stepping onto the running board.
Brois failed to obey the lawful commands of the investigating officer and turned on the motor vehicle. After several verbal commands, the officer activated and deployed his taser on two separate occasions in an attempt to subdue Brois. During the attempt to stop Brois, he began driving the motor vehicle through the parking lot while the officer was still hanging onto the truck. Brois continuously struck the officer in an attempt to push him from within the cab of the truck. Before exiting the parking lot, Brois struck the officer and ultimately forced him out of the open passenger door onto the pavement while the vehicle was in motion.
Additional officers in the area located Brois as he was fleeing the location, and they attempted to stop his vehicle. Brois failed to comply with the officers attempts to stop him and continued to flee from law enforcement. Officers briefly pursued the vehicle, during which Brois drove the wrong way and against traffic on Ulmerton Road. Out of an abundance of caution for the motoring public, the pursuit was terminated to ensure everyone's safety. Multiple officers continued to monitor the area where the vehicle was last seen, ultimately locating it hidden in an industrial area. Officers determined through investigative means, Brois was checked into a nearby hotel a short distance away from the vehicle, the Comfort Inn (3910 Ulmerton Rd).
Officers attempted to contact Brois at the room; however, the hotel door had been barricaded. Brois made threats of violence with a firearm towards both citizens and officers, ultimately leading to the activation of the SWAT team.
During the overnight hours, the Pinellas Park Police Department SWAT team attempted to negotiate with Brois with no success. After several hours of attempted negotiations, it was clear Brois was going to refuse to exit the hotel room where he was located.
Due to the extended length of the SWAT activation, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office SWAT team was activated to relieve the Pinellas Park Police Department SWAT members. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office SWAT team continued to negotiate and coax Brois from the hotel room. At approximately 1100 hours, Brois was taken into custody upon entry into the hotel room by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Throughout the investigation, Jennifer Thomas was located and taken into custody for her involvement in the incident taking place in the parking lot of 7001 Park Blvd. Jennifer Thomas was taken into custody at the hotel in the early morning hours and has been charged with resisting an officer without violence. Jennifer Thomas has since been booked into the Pinellas County jail.
The officer who was thrown from the truck sustained minor injuries and is in good condition.
Brois has been booked into the Pinellas County and charged with the following:
Battery of a Law Enforcement Officer False Imprisonment Resisting an officer without violence (Obstruction) Fleeing and Eluding a Police Officer (High Speed or Wanton Disregard) Petit Theft Warrant Arrest - Violation of Probation for Escape from Law Enforcement
At this time, investigators are still processing the hotel room where this incident took place, and there is a potential for additional charges.
The continued partnership and support from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office assisted in a safe resolution to this incident. No other law enforcement officers or citizens were injured during the incident.
The body camera footage from the initial incident where the officer was thrown from the vehicle is linked in this release.
If any other information is made available, this media release will be updated.