Father from Amber Alert standoff charged with child endangerment

HOUSTON – The father, who sparked an Amber Alert, then a standoff with police over the weekend, was in court Monday in Houston.

Jesse Thomas, 33, is charged with endangering a child.

It started in Austin, Friday afternoon, when police say 33-year-old Jesse Thomas kicked in the door of his mother's house, where his daughter was staying, grabbed 2-year-old Cheyenne Johnson, and took off.

Investigators say he had just lost his parental rights of the girl that day, to his mother, who is Cheyenne's grandmother.

Police from different agencies spotted Thomas, pursued, and lost him several times.

"This individual was reckless, irresponsible, driving anywhere from 100 to 110 miles per hour," said Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Tom Gilliland.

The chase ended Saturday morning in a strip mall parking lot at Highway 249 and Spring Cypress, where he got into a three-hour stand-off with Harris County Sheriff's deputies.

"At one point during the negotiations they were able to negotiate the child away from him, to give her up," said Gilliland. "At that point a female deputy ran up, grabbed the child and ran back toward a command post area."

Investigators say she was in good condition, but badly needed a diaper change, so a father working nearby stepped in.

Police were finally able to hit Thomas with a stun gun, then a bean bag gun, to bring him into custody.

Austin police say Thomas will likely face charges of burglary and kidnapping as well.

Police also say he was already out on bond, accused of two counts of aggravated assault on an officer, stemming from a separate incident.

Thomas is being held on a $50,000 bond.


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