Tpr. Tony L. Thames was shot to death outside the Balmar Motel in Detroit, Michigan, while attempting to thwart an armed robbery.
On June 12, 1983, at approximately 2:30 a.m., Trooper Thames and a companion were approached by two male subjects outside the Balmar Motel. One subject produced a small handgun and stuck it in Trooper Thames’ face. In self-defense, the officer then pulled his departmental snubnose revolver and pointed at his attacker. A scuffle ensued and the suspect shot Trooper Thames once in the leg and once in the chest, causing the officer to fall.
As Trooper Thames fell, his companion tried to run, but was stopped by the second suspect, who threatened to kill her unless she stopped. This suspect stole the woman’s purse and the suspects fled to their waiting car, which was being driven by a third suspect. Although mortally wounded, Trooper Thames got to his feet and fired one shot at the fleeing vehicle, striking his attacker in the arm. Trooper Thames again fell and was later transported to the Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he died at 3:50 a.m.
Using information supplied by witnesses, officers of the Detroit Police Department located the suspect vehicle and arrested the assailants at 4:05 a.m. on June 12, 1983. Trooper Thames’ companion positively identified the two men who had attacked them from a line-up. Felony warrants for murder and armed robbery were issued against them and the driver. The shooter was later convicted of first degree murder.
Trooper Thames was the 37th MSP officer to die in the line of duty.