Change of venue granted for man who shot and killed Trooper on Thanksgiving 2017

Local

The trial for an East Texas man accused of shooting a Texas State Trooper will not be held in Freestone County.

According to court records filed, Judge Patrick Simmons approved the change of venue motion for Dabrett Black, 34. The new venue county has not been chosen yet, but court officials are reaching out to other courts to see who will be willing.

Black is accused of firing multiple shots with a rifle at Trooper Damon Allen on Thanksgiving 2017, following a traffic stop on I-45.

Allen approached the vehicle, made contact with Black, and then, as he was returning to his patrol unit, DPS officials believe Black fired multiple shots with a rifle at the trooper. Allen died at the scene.

A few hours later, following an extensive manhunt, the suspect was located in Waller County near Prairie View. After a standoff and an exchange of gunfire, Black was taken into custody.

The 15-year veteran left behind a wife and three children. His widow is now fighting for tougher “bond” laws.

At that time of the shooting, Black was out on bond for assaulting a Smith County deputy in July. 

“It is horrible and it is terrible but you can take this and make something good out of it, you don’t have to just lay down and die with them. You will never be able to prevent all tragedies it doesn’t matter what you do there will always be tragedy in life it just goes hand in hand,” Allen told our sister station, KWKT, back in 2018.

Dabrett Black was arrested in Smith County twice before officials said he fatally shot Trooper Allen. The controversy surrounds the charges brought against him in 2015 when then Assistant District Attorney Jacob Putman cut a plea deal on one case and dismissed another. 

Black’s criminal history in Smith County according to Smith County Sheriff’s Office: 

  • March 27, 2015 – 6:13 p.m., Deputy Wesley Dean was dispatched to an assault that had already occurred on CR 4117 North of Lindale. Deputy Dean was flagged down by an individual later identified as Dabrett Black. An altercation occurred in which Deputy Dean received injuries. Deputy Dean began employment at the Sheriff’s Office on October 10, 2015 and was discharged August 10, 2015. 
  • Dabrett Black was arrested for Assault on a Public Servant ($40,000 bond) and Attempt to Take a Weapon From an Officer ($10,000 bond). He posted bond on April 2, 2015. Bond was set by Justice of the Peace Precinct 5 Jamie Cowart. Subsequent to his plea, Black was incarcerated from August 5, 2015 and released with time served on March 9, 2016. 
  • July 2, 2017, at approximately 3 a.m., Smith County deputies got into a pursuit with Black on ENE Loop 323. Black rammed Deputy Bishop during this pursuit. He was charged with Evading Arrest with a Vehicle, Aggravated Assault Against a Public Servant and Reckless Driving. Bonds were set at $15,000 for all three charges by Justice of Peace Precinct 4 Mitch Shamburger. Black posted bond on July 31, 2017.
  • Black was indicted the end of October 2017, a Capias for Insufficient Bond was issued on November 2 and the Capias was received by the Sheriff’s Office on November 8 and entered into NCIC and TCIC the same day. Bond was set at $200,000 for Evading Arrest and $200,000 for Aggravated Assault Against a Public Servant. Dabrett Black had not been rearrested as of November 23 when he fatally wounded DPS Trooper Damon Allen. 

Black’s next court date is set for Friday, June 28 at 10 a.m.

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