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 July 3, 2004
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Suspect Who Was Shot During Arrest Could Have Been Taken In Earlier
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By Dina Kaplan

(LOUISVILLE, June 18th, 2004, 12:05 p.m.) -- The husband of the woman shot by a Louisville Metro police officer Wednesday blames police for not picking her up sooner when they confronted her earlier in the day. WAVE 3's Dina Kaplan reports.

People who spent time with Gale Thomason say she did not act like herself the day she was shot in the thigh while being arrested on a Mental Inquest Warrant June 16. They say she had violently attacked people earlier in the day, and that when police had a chance to arrest her they let her drive away.

The alleged attack happened Wednesday morning at the Bahama Bay Tanning Salon in the 5000 block of Stephan Drive. One employee says that, normally, Gale is "the nicest customer I have."

Stephen Waddill says Gale showed up drunk, then lunged at him. "Gale is a nice person, I have nothing against her. "But that morning I was attacked."

Witnesses say her next target was a customer who was wearing a cross on a necklace. "She made three steps toward her and then lunged to get it and I quote: 'I want that cross off of there now.'"

Waddil says he called police and two officers arrived, but refused to arrest Thomason. He says police said "the only thing I can tell you is if she comes back, lock the door."

Waddil says Thomason then called him repeatedly when she got home. Later that day, when police tried to execute an outstanding Mental Inquest Warrant, they say she attacked an officer with a knife and was eventually shot in the leg.

At 5-foot-5-inches, Thomas weighs about 120 pounds and has run marathons. Her husband, Wayne Thomason, says officers should have allowed her to cool down inside the apartment. And he blames police for letting her get away earlier in the day. "They had her once and they let her go." 

He admits his wife is troubled -- it was Wayne who took out the Mental Inquest Warrant, hoping she would be placed in a hospital. Wayne also says Gale had just begun taking the anti-depressant Lexapro, and the drug made Gale act irrationally.

But the bottle is clearly marked with a warning not to combine the drug with alcohol.

Police spokesman Dwight Mitchell says an investigation is continuing. When asked if officers should have run a check for outstanding warrants after receiving complaints about her from the tanning salon, he said decisions like that are made on a "case by case basis."

Gale Thomason does have a criminal background, including 16 counts of wanton endangerment, and a charge for biting her husband on Christmas eve in 2002.

Online Reporter: Dina Kaplan

Online Producer: Michael Dever

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