Jul 29, 2014
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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.

Prosecutors Drop Case Against Suspected Shooter

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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