CCPD officer ‘justified’ in shooting man, child in fatal hostage situation

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. – An officer returned to duty Thursday after he was found justified in shooting an armed man and his infant during a fatal standoff on Oct. 24.

That officer, Matthew Mills, is a nine-year veteran. He shot 34-year-old Rolly Thomas and his 7-month-old child. Thomas died and the baby was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to his thigh.

On Thursday, the Cape Coral Police Department and the state attorney’s office determined that Mills’ actions were justified. He was one of several officers to respond to a 9-1-1 call to 1518 NE 43 Lane on Oct. 24 around 1 a.m.

According to police record, Thomas violated a restraining order the night before by dropping off a child to his previous live-in girlfriend Marsha Alexander. The couple was having issues when in June 2015 a judge permitted Alexander to stay in Thomas’ home with their children. Thomas was ordered to stay away.

By Oct. 24, officers had been called to the home twice in less than 12 hours.

Five children were in the home when police were called the night before. Those five children were still there when police responded to the second 9-1-1 call to the home in the early hours of Oct. 24.

When officers arrived they heard arguing then one gunshot, according to police. Alexander came running out of the home with a gunshot wound to her chest, police said. While Thomas continued to fire at them, officers were able to save three children from the home, according to police.

That’s when the standoff began.

Rolly Thomas, 34, killed in a 2015 standoff with CCPD
Rolly Thomas, 34, killed in a 2015 standoff with CCPD

Officers tried to convince Thomas to surrender, but he alternated between an exchange of dialogue and bullets from his pistol and pump-action shotgun, police said. Before 1:30 a.m. Thomas appeared partially from the home’s front door and pointed his shotgun at officers, police said. That’s when Mills fatally shot him, police said.

Thomas retreated back into the home, which CCPD was able to enter with the help of SWAT. Thomas was found dead inside. But also in the home were two children: one was asleep and the other was injured by a gunshot wound, police said.

Both the child and Alexander were treated at the hospital and continue to recover from their injuries, police said.

The state attorney’s office is calling the standoff a hostage situation since it is believed that Thomas used his children.

“It is unfortunate that [the child] was also shot in the leg during this incident. Thankfully, the child survived his gunshot wound. The evidence supports the logical inference that Rolly Thomas used [the child] as a hostage,” the state attorney’s office said in a statement.

CCPD Chief Dave Newlan said the situation left his officer no choice but to shoot Thomas.

“The actions of Rolly Thomas on October 24, 2015 were nothing short of horrific. He went to the home that evening armed with a gun and an ax with the intent to kill. Unknown at the time, Rolly Thomas was actually holding his infant son in one arm as he shot at officers with the other,” he said in a written statement. “Make no mistake, everything that happened that night was the direct result of choices made by Rolly Thomas.”

No officers were injured in the October incident.

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