Newly-released video shows how drone helped catch WilCo shooting suspect
We're now seeing for the first time how a police chase in Williamson County ended with the help of a drone. The nighttime chase required a drone equipped with thermal vision. Without it the hunt for the suspect could have gone very differently.
On January 5, Malik Anthony Rashan Jackovich was spotted around 1 a.m. driving recklessly on I-35 through Georgetown. Police chased him until he crashed near a bridge over the San Gabriel river. That's where police say he took a couple of shots at them before he disappeared on foot into the darkness.
Now just-released video shows us how a properly-equipped drone quickly found the suspect trying to lay low under the bridge. Commander Steve Deaton with the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office says this is the first time he’s seen a drone catch somebody that quickly, especially in that type of situation.
Commander Deaton is a believer in the value of drones and thermal imaging in catching the bad guys while keeping his own people a safe distance away. He explains, “Clearly this guy posed a danger not just to the public but to officers. And quite literally if our drone hadn't spotted him we would have had officers stumbling around in the dark with flashlights looking for an armed subject who had already shot at them."
Commander Deaton says the sheriff office also uses drones to assist in SWAT calls with armed subjects. He explains, “Instead of having to have our bodies walking around an armed subject, this drone hovered and gave us a visual contact and we were able to safely walk a SWAT team in to take the guy into custody without having to use deadly force."
And with law enforcement now making more use of that bird's eye view, Commander Deaton now offers this tip for private drone owners: “If you're a hobbyist and there's an event going on and there are other drones in the air that are being flown by public safety, I would advise you to stay far away."