Prosecutors Drop Case Against Suspected Shooter

The authorities say they are continuing their investigation into who shot an 18-year-old woman in December on Pico Boulevard.

Charges have been dropped against Waiverly Burnest Thomas, the man initially pegged by police as the gunman in a wild shooting on Pico Boulevard.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Jan. 30 to dismiss the case at the request of the District Attorney's Office, according to court records.

"There needed to be further investigation," said D.A. spokeswoman Jane Robison.

A Colton city resident and Santa Monica High School alumnus, Thomas had been charged with attempted murder and being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the non-fatal shooting of a young woman near 18th Street as she tried to flee the area with help from a stranger.

Public defender Matthew Huey had filed a motion to suppress evidence in the case about a month before it was dismissed. In the motion, Huey argued the Santa Monica Police should have obtained warrants to arrest Thomas and search his vehicle.

The police officers detained Thomas "based on a description of a suspect being a 'male black, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and white pants' with no further identifying features," the motion read. "No reasonable suspicion existed to justify the detention."

"During the illegal detention, defendant was identified in a field show up, and his car was searched and a handgun was recovered," the motion continued.

Santa Monica Police spokesman Sgt. Richard Lewis said detectives are looking for new leads in the case.

"Everyone is considered a suspect until proven otherwise," he said.

The gunman opened fire Dec. 8 from the Pico Boulevard sidewalk. Multiple rounds struck an 18-year-old woman who had run into the intersection from a nearby memorial car wash to flag down a car, saying she needed help leaving the area.

A Good Samaritan stopped to help, and the victim got in his car, but before they could escape, the gunman fired, according to the police. The shooter fled west into the nearby neighborhoods.

With the victim inside his car, the driver was able to call 911 upon reaching the corner of Lincoln and Pico boulevards, according to the police. She was treated  at a local hospital.

Thomas was apprehended near Delaware Avenue at 16th Street about an hour after the shooting as he attempted to drive out of a police perimeter. A handgun was recovered from the car.

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mimi February 09, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Brenda- What about the victim? If she correctly identified him, isn't that all the police need for an arrest----even if she refuses to press charges? This is ridiculous.
Brenda Barnes February 09, 2013 at 03:36 AM
Last I heard, the victim was not cooperating, so I'd expect the lineup ID was from a witness. Witnesses are notoriously unreliable--lots of research on this--particularly as to black males.
David Mendez-Yapkowitz February 09, 2013 at 03:59 AM
No it's not all. People lie all the time about identities and are also pressured/harassed into identifying certain "suspects" by police. Happens all the time. This world is not as black and white as people make it out to be and "criminals" are not always who they appear to be.
Legal Dog February 10, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Yes- ballistics were ran. Not the gun. He was wrongly identified because he had on a black hooded sweatshirt and was a black man. They let him go because he is innocent.
mimi February 10, 2013 at 08:23 PM
David - The victim knew the man who attacked her. They have/had a relationship with each other. This is not about an unreliable witness or incorrect identification. It is about an uncooperative victim obstructing justice, protecting a criminal and willing to put the public safety at risk. Frankly, it appears to be a pimp/prostitute dispute. And from his photo, it looks like hard drugs are involved. Very long term use of hard drugs.
Brenda Barnes February 11, 2013 at 06:26 PM
Jeez, Louise, Mimi. Just because people use drugs, and just because there may be a pimp/prostitute relationship, and I don't care what other irrelevant facts you might throw in, which all seem to be based on surmise and speculation--he was in jail with a $3 million bail for attempted murder. Legal Dog seems to know that ballistics on the gun showed it was not the gun--there were holes in the car, so it is obvious ballistics could be run. I know it is difficult to imagine that if the rights of such a person were violated, yours could be, but that is the truth. If any innocent people can be jailed with no evidence against them, we--innocent people with no evidence against us--are all in trouble.
mimi February 12, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Brenda - Isn't the issue whether the person who was apprehended was carrying a gun without a permit? And wasn't it also concealed? If yes, than it doesn't matter whether he is/isn't a junkie, pimp or john.. I can imagine innocent people being jailed with no evidence. And a lot worse. What I cannot imagine is why you choose to defend any individual with a criminal record who is found carrying a gun. Whether my speculation is correct, begs the real issue. If this individual was carrying a gun, he has violated his probation and is a public danger.
Glenn E Grab February 12, 2013 at 07:37 PM
mimi, you thought he'd be carrying a gun that wasn't concealed?...the prisons and county jail are so crowded with drug addicts and alcoholics that there's no more room for guys like this, he'd be in and out in a couple of days, costing the city and the state a bunch of money...he probably doesn't have a violent record...
Glenn E Grab February 12, 2013 at 07:39 PM
mimi. I thought of one thing, maybe the guy was smart enough to switch guns, getting rid of the one he shot up the car with, in that case you'd be right...
Jenna Chandler (Editor) February 12, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Thomas has three priors convictions in Los Angeles County for burglary, drug possession and carrying a loaded firearm in public.
Brenda Barnes February 12, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Mimi, all I know is $3 million bail would keep most of us jailed and unable to participate in our own defense. Being charged wrongly with attempted murder can change anyone's life for the worse. This is what the Fourth Amendment is about, and often people unlike ourselves are the ones in the forefront of asserting and protecting constitutional rights. I said the ex-felon with a gun charge might still pertain, unless warrantless searches are not good regarding them, too. I am not defending on that issue. I don't know the answer to that question, as criminal law is not my field and never was. In fact, I decided when I was studying for the bar exam not to answer any questions including criminal law, which since we had to answer three out of four in each section, often left me with no choice. I am afraid of criminals and as wary of having them around as anyone (probably worse than most). Nonetheless, I was sure ballistics proved he did NOT fire the gun he had at the woman. What part of innocent until proven guilty (and a right not to be charged without evidence) is so difficult to understand? This is basic constitutional rights we are discussing. They have to be available to everyone, or they are worthless.
mimi February 12, 2013 at 09:03 PM
It's one thing to support the intention of the ACLU (which I do). It's quite another to protect criminals (and their attorneys) who hide behind it. Do we have to wait for Thomas to actually commit a murder before he is sent to prison? What happened to three strikes and you're out? I also believe when a victim asks for help in fleeing her attacker, receives it from a good samaratan. and then refuses to identify the attacker, she has (at the very least) wasted community resources and must be held responsible for repayment of monies spent on her behalf.
Glenn E Grab February 12, 2013 at 09:50 PM
jenna, like I said, no violent convictions...carrying a weapon isn't a violent crime unless the weapon is used in a crime...
Brenda Barnes February 12, 2013 at 10:32 PM
Yes, Mimi, we do have to wait until someone commits a crime to charge him with one. No use trying to change the subject.
mimi February 12, 2013 at 11:12 PM
brenda- Are you suggesting that if a felon carries a gun, he has not commited a crime? What part of this scenario am I missing? I am not changing the subject. I am doing my best to understand your logic. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still. Can we agree to disagree?
Legal Dog February 12, 2013 at 11:24 PM
First of all- Let me let you all know the deal...especially MiMi (who doesn't know ANY of the facts-only what she read) This is MY husband- he wasn't carrying a gun. It is legally MY gun that was found in the trunk of MY car. I was with him. I made the police aware that MY gun was in the trunk of MY car because I had planned on going to the shooting range one day after work- I just never made it there because I worked over-time. My husband washed cars ALL day long- he didn't shoot at anyone. We were pulled over only after we returned to the scene to jump my car. The police only asked us to pull over because he was wearing a black hoodie (like alot of people wear)- that is the only reason he was arrested. The ran ballistics on my gun- they did gunshot residue tests- they all came back negative. Do you know why? Because he didn't do it. He may have gotten in trouble when he was young (like alot of people do or have) But he didn't do that! And the reason he looks that way in the photo is NOT because he was on drugs- but because he was upset that he had been arrested for something that he didn't have anything to do or even knew anything about. Let's see how you would look if that happened to you or your child or loved one.
Legal Dog February 12, 2013 at 11:33 PM
And may I add- he doesn't know the young lady who was shot. He couldn't even tell you what she looked like. It's unfortunate that happened to her. I don't know that young lady- but I am sure she came to the car wash for the same reason everyone else did- to support and help raise money for Timothy Mansion's family to bury him. Unfortunately- an idiot did something so very wrong and endangered alot of innocent people- and because of his actions- my husband lost his job- the location of where we live was put in the paper- which actually put my life in danger as well. Our lives have been turned upside down by this event- and it was through alot of prayer and support from people who know Waiverly- that the lord delivered him out of such a horrid situation. Believe it or not- there really are alot of innocent people in jail. And there are alot of people on the street who SHOULD be in jail- but my husband isn't one of them.
Legal Dog February 12, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Also Jenn- it wasn't Burglary- it was commercial burglary- wrote a bad check at a store almost 10 years ago. The drugs- he got help for that. And he has been drug free for over 5 years- the carrying a loaded firearm in public- he was a teenager and he discharged his mother's firearm in the air. Just FYI...
mimi February 12, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Legal Dog--- I am sorry for your misfortune. You surely realize your response(s) read like an unconvincing alibi. I call it like I see it. Sorry.
Legal Dog February 13, 2013 at 12:05 AM
Also MiMi- the victim (the young lady) had a relationship with Timothy Mansion- the young man that the fund raiser was being held for...
Legal Dog February 13, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Not sure where you are getting your information from...
Brenda Barnes February 13, 2013 at 12:08 AM
Wow, this is like a screenplay. So sorry this happened to Waiverly and Legal Dog. Hope you come out of it and get someone to file a false arrest lawsuit against SM for the millions they should pay you.
Brenda Barnes February 13, 2013 at 12:35 AM
"Yes- ballistics were ran. Not the gun. He was wrongly identified because he had on a black hooded sweatshirt and was a black man. They let him go because he is innocent." Is that the response that sounded like an unconvincing alibi to you, Mimi? If ballistics were run on the gun and it was not the gun used in the crime he was charged with, that's unconvincing to you? Please tell me your whole name4 so I can be sure you're excused for cause from any jury that might try the case of anyone connected to me. You don't even see now what is wrong with adding to what was in the press--which was always what the police and other people doing their best with limited facts and reacting quickly were saying--and then coming to conclusions based on more irrelevant and misused "facts." I don't let that kind of bias and prejudice go, obviously. Innocent people are hurt by that.
Legal Dog February 13, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Thanks Brenda. And MiMi- everyone is entitled to their opinion. It may sound like an unconvinving alibi to you- but unfortunately it is true. That is why the DA and the judge even apologized to us- they even knew the arrested the wrong person. So at this point- it really doesn't matter whether you believe it or not. I just thought that I would enlighten you on the facts. Not sure what race you are- but unfortunately for black people and latinos- we are guilty until proven innocent.
Legal Dog February 13, 2013 at 12:43 AM
The detective who arrested Waiverly even told the DA that they arrested the wrong person. The bottom line is- the police thought they had the right person in the beginning. There were witnesses for Waiverly (who didn't even know him) that gave statements that he was innocent. And along with the forensics and the Ballistics- the charges against Waiverly were dropped. So no matter how it may sound to you MiMi- he is and always was innocent- and if you still choose to feel the way you do (which is again- your right)- then Thank GOD you are not in Law Enforcement. Because you would probably be a part of the problem with our society as well- Not a part of the solution.
mimi February 13, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Legal Dog- For better or worse, you and your husband are now on the police radar. I hope for everyone's sake, there are no further incidents involving you, your spouse and /or mistaken identity.. Brenda- I will make sure to excuse myself from the jury pool if/when this case goes to trial. And I suggest you do the same.
real March 13, 2013 at 12:14 AM
If he is really innocent then he needs to stop bragging about being the shooter that got away with it as he calls the "La Raven" Chatline (712 4322023 ) bragging about carrying guns everywhere he goes and how he "is really about it out here" in the streets....
real March 13, 2013 at 12:23 AM
@legal dog you are obviously dysfunctional for being married to a 31 year old who spends hours on the chatline while you work all day. Whether he shot at someone is a matter up to the courts but he threatens people over the phone everytime he is on that line...I suggest that you talk to your husband about maturity since its obvious he isn't the "T Zone Crip " he claims to be....and if he is then you look even dumber
mimi March 13, 2013 at 09:06 PM
I hope that SMPD is aware of this info and will put it to good use before legal dog and her pal decide to repeat the saga of Bonnie & Clyde.
Dan Charney March 29, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Perhaps you can explain to those who don't know how it works that victims don't "press charges"- but rather, make reports- up the DA office to press charges- a warrant less search might trump the rest, making it all nil- one would think that anyone who worked in any service area dealing with crime directly or indirectly and is a "professional" - would know


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