Local News

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

Posted October 1, 2013 6:43 p.m. EDT

— 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.