Deputy honored for her bravery, actions


December 16, 2003, 01:25 PM
Deputy honored for her bravery, actions

BRADENTON -- The 911 call came at 7:02 p.m. Sept. 1.

Operators couldn't hear anyone talking, but they did hear screaming moments before a single gunshot.

Peter Luckel, 58, had just shot his 49-year-old wife, Georgette, in the head, deputies would discover later.

Deputy Christine Thomason was at the scene of another domestic violence call when she got the call to head to the Luckels' house at 315 111th St. E.

Minutes later, Thomason dodged Peter Luckel's bullet and fired the shot that killed him.

On Friday, Thomason was honored for her bravery and the training that allowed her to act without thinking -- an act that probably saved the life of Luckel's son.

"I actually didn't even realize I shot until it was over," Thomason said Friday. "I really didn't have a whole lot of time to think."

She acted swiftly, professionally and efficiently, Sheriff Charlie Wells said. "She acted after nearly losing her life and she did the right thing."

Thomason was given the deputy of the year award at a luncheon Friday, one of six Sheriff's Office employees and volunteers who received awards. Each received a plaque and a $500 or $1,000 savings bond.

Carolyn Williams received employee of the year. Charla Eberly and Tami Harmount received Humanitarian of the Year. Robin Draper received the Citizenship Award. They are all civilian employees.

Hugh McElhiney received the Robert E. Molter Volunteer of the Year Award.

Thomason spoke about the events of Sept. 1 and her bittersweet feelings about accepting an award for shooting someone. While she said she had no choice in the situation, "I hope to never, ever do it again."

When Thomason arrived at the Luckels, another deputy was already there.

Food was still on the table from dinner. The sun had just set.

When Thomason pushed open the French doors at the back of the house, she stood about 12 feet from the bedroom. Georgette Luckel's body lay in the kitchen.

When Thomason looked into the bedroom, she saw Peter Luckel with his back to her. His 13-year-old son was rubbing his back, trying to console him, Thomason said.

Thomason heard Luckel tell his son that he was "sorry for what he did, sorry for what he was going to do."

Thomason said she called to the teen, who picked up the family dog and ran into the back yard.

Then the 12-year veteran and former Air Force military policewoman called out: "Sheriff's Office. Drop the gun and let me see your hands."

"F--- you," Peter Luckel said, and turned to his left, firing with his right hand.

Thomason said the muzzle of the .357-caliber revolver looked as big as a saucer. The bullet passed in front of her face and lodged in the door only 4 to 5 inches above her head.

The slug from her 9 mm Smith and Wesson semiautomatic pistol hit Luckel in the back. He was pronounced dead at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg later that night.

Wells consoled a distraught Thomason that night. "Christine, the father was already gone, anyway," she remembers him saying.

Thomason returned to duty Sept. 13 after she was cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting.

She has not heard from the dead man's son.

"I hope somehow he gets through this," Thomason said. "I think about it (the shooting) every day."

Looks like she rose to the level of her training and answered the call. Good job on her part. I hope she and the kid come out of this okay. Prayers for both.
As mentioned over and over, under stress you will revert to your training. You will not "rise to the occasion", you will revert to what ever level of training you have. From the Officers statement it sounds like this is exactly what happened, and most likely saved her life.

Train for life.


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December 16, 2003, 01:44 PM
Officer turns 13 year old into orphan with single shot

More like, "Man turns 13 year old into orphan by shooting his mother in the head and then shooting a police officer." Either way, sad all the way around.

4v50 Gary
December 16, 2003, 10:40 PM
The deputy responded correctly in this tragic incident.

December 17, 2003, 04:14 AM
Shot placement counts!

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