• Deputies: Man shot at Marion County deputy after fatally shooting his own mother

    By: Jeff Deal , Elyna Niles-Carnes , Sarahbeth Ackerman , Jason Kelly


    MARION COUNTY, Fla. - A man was arrested after he shot at a Marion County deputy and fatally shot his own mother, investigators said.

    The shootings happened Thursday morning on Northwest 39th Avenue Road, officials said.

    Deputies said Malcolm Jamal Thomas shot his mother, Pearlie Mae Thomas, at about 3:15 a.m. while tussling with his brother. Pearlie Thomas was taken to a hospital, where she died.

    Deputy Alan Hewett was in a wooded area, keeping watch over the death investigation, when he was shot at, investigators said.

    Deputies said Malcolm Thomas came out of a home in the woods, told Hewett to get out of the area, fired at him and ran away.

    Map: 2018 homicides in Marion County

    A neighbor told Channel 9's Jeff Deal that the woman who was killed was a nice woman.

    "Nice lady. Beautiful lady. She'd give you the shirt off her back," the neighbor told Eyewitness News.

    Hewett was not injured.

    "There is no justification for it. Do we worry? Absolutely," said Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods. "My deputy's worried about what his family thinks."

    K-9s tracked down Malcolm Thomas.

    During questioning, Malcolm Thomas admitted to being at the home when the shooting occurred. He said he had left the home to get a gun and then returned to kill his brother, deputies said.

    Thomas denied shooting at the deputy.

    Malcolm Thomas faces numerous charges, including manslaughter and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

    Fessenden Elementary School was put on a code yellow alert as a precaution. The school was not involved in the incident.

    Read: Code red and code yellow: What you need to know

    This is the second time in a week that a sheriff's deputy has been shot at in Marion County.

    Someone in Citra fired at a deputy who was trying to disperse a crowd.

    Read: Marion County deputies seek suspect who fired at deputy in Citra

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