Local News

911 calls: Neighbors tried to help couple slain in murder-suicide

Posted October 1, 2013

— Neighbors described a chaotic scene in Fayetteville's Farmington subdivision Saturday night as gunshots rang out and the suspected gunman darted between homes, according to 911 calls released Tuesday.

Police said Allen Thomas fatally shot his two neighbors, Ann and Todd Awaldt, on Potters Court before turning the gun on himself about a half-mile away. Thomas' wife, Danica Thomas, said the former Fort Bragg soldier suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and that "he just snapped."

Danica Thomas called 911 Saturday night to report that her husband was standing in their front yard firing his handgun, but her emergency call was not one of the four released Tuesday.

Neighbors told emergency dispatchers that they heard as many as 10 gunshots before running outside and finding a man lying in his backyard with two gunshot wounds. Several callers got a brief glance at Allen Thomas as he ran from his own front yard to a neighbor's backyard, then bolted across the street and between homes – all while firing rounds. 

Robert Casper, who lives on Potters Court, said Monday that he heard what he thought were firecrackers going off and was on his way to ask his neighbors to keep it down when he saw Allen Thomas running from a garage.

"A guy runs outside, turns right back around and goes back inside the house for less than a minute," Casper said. "He comes back outside running full-tilt and he gets to the center of the cul-de-sac."

Then, Casper said, a neighbor confronted Allen Thomas.

"All of a sudden, he shoots at the neighbor and hits his truck, and then (Thomas) runs across the street in between two houses and then out of sight."

One caller said her husband fired back at Allen Thomas. 

Police said Allen Thomas didn't know the Awaldts and that the crime was random. 


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  • Lightfoot3 Oct 3, 2013

    "Your headline is misleading." - carolinej

    It definitely doesn't match the article material. I didn't see anything about how the neighbors tried to help.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 2, 2013

    DJ - "Do we know that PTSD is the problem?"

    As I've already said, "there's no such thing as an unwounded warrior".

    All are touched by serving, in one way or another, especially in combat.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 2, 2013

    carolinej - "Too many veterans are being discharged back into their communities with severe cases of PTSD."

    True, and too many are getting a run-around when they go to VAMCs for help, wayyy too many.

    A friend was in Desert Storm suffering severe arm and shoulder muscle damage from driving a tank from the shores of Kuwait into Baghdad city.

    He also deals with PTSD, from seeing entire families mowed down, when they wouldn't get out of the way of advancing troops, ours and Iran's.

    While still in service, he kept copies of every page in his medical records, the end of which said he was 100% disabled and needed medical and mental health treatment.

    When discharged, the VAMCs in Durham and Winston-Salem gave him repeated run-arounds, denying his disability, and then granting it tiny percentage at a time, until he hired an attorney to file for disability with Social Security which he got. Once SSA granted that, the VA had to honor their disability obligation to him.


  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Oct 2, 2013

    What a tragedy!!!

    Praying for all dealing with PTSD.

    Been there, done that - there's no such thing as an "unwounded warrior". All who wear the uniforms are affected in one some way through military service.

    Praying for them all.

  • zenonx6 Oct 2, 2013

    Poor guy,, See what War does Mr. President. Americans are soft now and can't handle that kind of thing, We have to go full robotic or arieal.

  • djofraleigh Oct 2, 2013

    Your headline is misleading. Very sad event. Too many veterans are being discharged back into their communities with severe cases of PTSD. -- COMMENT

    the current headline is about neighbors trying to help. Do we know that PTSD is the problem? People without tours of duty go crazy, too, and we've been seeing that in the news. Danica is lucky not to be a victim. She did the right thing by calling 911. All too often vets get the bad rep from homelessness to such acts as this.

  • HANS FOR PRESIDENT!!!!! JK Oct 2, 2013

    @caroline, what's misleading about it?

  • carolinej Oct 2, 2013

    Your headline is misleading. Very sad event. Too many veterans are being discharged back into their communities with severe cases of PTSD.