Footage shows fight before Thomas Drive shooting, third person charged

Published: Aug. 14, 2022 at 1:24 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - UPDATE 08/15/22 5:04 P.M:

Deputies are now working to charge 28-year-old Benjamin Lau from Havana with battery. As shown in the footage above, Lau was the man in the video exiting the truck and starting a physical fight with Tighree Thomas before the shooting occurred.

Lau was also injured in the shooting as he sat in the back seat of the truck while the driver tried to leave.

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two people they believe to have been involved in the shooting on Thomas Drive overnight.

Sheriff’s officials report that a shooting happened around 2:50 a.m. at a gas station off Thomas Drive, and two people were injured in the shooting.

BCSO arrested Tighree Thomas, age 43, and his wife, Norma Jean Thomas, age 47, both from Southport.

Investigators said they believe there were two cars that went to the gas station at the same time but were unrelated and did not know each other.

They also report the shooting suspects were in a vehicle with many other people. The victims were in a truck with a third person.

Sheriff’s Officials report that the people in the truck got into an argument with the other car over comments made toward women walking into the parking lot.

The victims in the truck were allegedly telling the people in the vehicle to “Leave the girls alone.”

It was at that point officials said Tighree Thomas came out of the convenience store and became involved in the verbal altercation.

Investigators said one of the victims allegedly got out of the truck to square off against Thomas and the verbal altercation became a physical one.

It reported that then another man got out of the shooter’s vehicle and the fight was now two against one.

At this time, investigators said it is believed that Tighree Thomas instructed his wife Norma Jean to get his gun for him.

Investigators said that Norma Jean Thomas got out of the car with a gun and passed the gun to Tighree Thomas.

It is reported that they threatened the victims in the truck and the driver of the truck tried to back up but Tighree Thomas keep his gun pointed at the victims.

When the truck driver attempted to drive forward officials said that Tighree Thomas then fired eight shots. He shot the two victims in the back seat of the truck. The victims received non-life-threatening wounds.

According to BCSO, Thomas and his wife left the scene.

When deputies arrived they were able to interview the witnesses.

Criminal Investigations were called to the scene. It was learned who the suspects were. BCSO Patrol deputies assisted in making contact with the suspects and Tighree and Norma Jean Thomas were arrested.

Tighree Thomas is charged with two counts of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm and Shooting Into an Occupied Vehicle. Norma Jean Thomas is charged with Principal to two counts of Aggravated Battery with a Firearm and Principal to Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle. They were taken to the Bay County Jail.

The investigation into the shooting is ongoing. An additional arrest and charges are expected.

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