He's battled a drug addiction, and held officers at bay during an eleven hour stand off earlier this year, but Friday night 55-year-old Thomas Webster is dead after being shot by a Minnehaha County deputy.
The shooting happened shortly before 1 p.m. Friday afternoon on East Bennett Street when deputies were trying to serve warrants. But, Webster's daughter says her dad pointed an assault rifle at the deputies and that's when they shot and killed him.
Webster was scheduled to be sentenced for his fifth DUI, two felony counts of drug possession and failure to show up to court Friday afternoon. He faced a maximum of 19 years in prison, but just hours before he was supposed to show up in court he was killed by the deputy.
"Drug addiction is a really horrible thing that will tear somebody and their entire family apart," Webster's daughter Keri Ann Webster said.
Standing outside her father's house Friday Keri Ann Webster talked about what an addiction to the pain medication Oxycontin did to her father. It sent his life spiraling out of control to a point where he holed up inside his home in January for an eleven hour stand off with police.
"I know that prior to the stand off in January it was a very daily, very heavy use," Webster said.
His daughter says he got addicted to Oxycontin after he had severe back problems, and that addiction turned the man she knew as dad into a person she didn't recognize.
"The biggest thing is I know my dad wasn't a bad guy, a drug addiction took hold of my dad," Webster said.
But Webster's daughter thought her dad would turn a corner when he was arrested peacefully after the January stand-off, and that jail time would keep him sober. But, Webster was released from jail on bond a month ago, and his daughter doesn't know why he was released.
"With his history of failure to appear and the stand off, and everything else, I just think that him being released was really a poor decision in our justice system," Webster said.
And it proved to be a fatal mistake, because Webster knew when authorities tried to put her dad back in jail he wouldn't go down without a fight.
"He couldn't wrap his head around going back to jail, or going back to prison, he just wouldn not accept that," Webster said.
Webster's daughter believes he got his wish Friday by being shot and killed by a deputy instead of facing almost two decades in prison.
"Anyone who knows my dad knows that unfortunately he went out the way he wanted to," Webster said.
Webster says she doesn't blame the deputies for shooting and killing her dad, she knows they did what they had to do.
She's just frustrated he was let out of jail, because it was the only safe place for him.
By Ben Dunsmoor
Published: August 13, 2010
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