Governor orders flags lowered to half-staff in honor of fallen trooper

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FREESTONE COUNTY, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Friday ordered state flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Department of Public Safety Trooper Damon Allen, 41, who was killed during a Thanksgiving Day traffic stop on Interstate 45 near Fairfield in Freestone County.

"The tragic death of Trooper Damon Allen is a sad and sobering reminder of the risks our men and women in uniform take every day," Abbott said.

"Cecilia and I extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends during this unimaginably difficult time. As flags are lowered, I call on all Texans to join me in prayer for Trooper Allen and the entire law enforcement community who keep us safe."

Funeral services were scheduled Friday for the fallen trooper, a husband and father of three children, who joined the DPS in 2002 and was stationed in Groesbeck at the time of his death.

Visitation will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 30 at the Bowers Funeral Home at 900 U.S. Highway 84 in Teague.

The funeral service begins at 10 a.m. on Friday Dec. 1 at the Mexia High School stadium.

Burial will follow at Salem Cemetery near Freestone.

Allen, whose body was en route with a law enforcement escort to Teague Friday afternoon from the medical examiner's office in Dallas, was born in Morgantown, Ky. In 1976, but his family moved to Mexia in 1984.

He graduated from Mexia High School, where he played football, and worked briefly at what is now the Mexia State Assisted Living Center and then for five years at a state prison unit before becoming a state trooper.

Mexia businesswoman Kera Nichols went to high school with Allen.

She remembered the fallen trooper Friday as "a good guy who lost his life way too soon."

Limestone County Sheriff Dennis Wilson also knew Allen well.

"He was a man that wore a badge and a gun and who represented the state of Texas. He went to work every day with a great attitude," he said.

"His number one priority was the safety of the people he protected. Great, great family man, great trooper, and a tremendous representative of law enforcement. It really breaks my heart. It makes me sad that we lost a brother, a very close brother in law enforcement," he said.

Allen is the 221st DPS trooper to die in the line of duty since 1823 and the first to die in a shooting since 2008.

"Our DPS family is heartbroken...after one of Texas' finest law enforcement officers was killed in the line of duty," DPS Director Steven McCraw said.

"Texas Highway Patrol Trooper Damon Allen was a loving husband and father of three, and we ask for your prayers for his entire family and his many friends and colleagues during the difficult days ahead. Trooper Allen's dedication to duty, and his bravery and selfless sacrifice on this Thanksgiving Day, will never be forgotten."

Dabrett Black, 32, of Lindale, was in the Brazos County Jail Friday, charged with capital murder in the shooting death.

Black's bond is set at $500,000.

He also faces warrants for bond forfeiture on an evading arrest charge in Anderson County and for insufficient bond on aggravated assault on a public servant and evading arrest charges in Smith County, according to online jail records.

He has confessed to the shooting, a source with direct knowledge of the investigation said Friday.

Black was tracked down in a rural area of Waller County several hours after Allen was killed.

The shooting happened, which happened at around 4 p.m. Thursday, was captured by the dashcam in the slain trooper's patrol unit, a source close to the investigation said Friday.

The video allowed authorities to identify Black quickly as the suspect, the source said.

Troopers say Black fired several shots at Allen during the traffic stop, but a motive wasn't clear.

Within minutes of the shooting, officers from a dozen or more law enforcement agencies were fanning out in Limestone and Freestone Counties looking for Black's gray Chevy Malibu.

DPS troopers from throughout the region sped to the shooting scene.

Just before 7 p.m., a deputy in Waller County spotted Black's vehicle near FM 1488 and White Chapel between Hempstead and Prairie View.

Deputies say shots were fired when they first spotted the vehicle, but nobody was hurt.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the area to set up a perimeter, and used K9s, a SWAT team, and helicopter to search for Black.

Just before 9 p.m., Black was found hiding in a field and taken into custody. He did have non-life threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital.

According to online jail records, Black was last booked into the Smith County jail in Tyler on Sept. 7, 2017 on charges of evading arrest, aggravated assault of a public servant and reckless driving.