For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office released the sentencing result for a 2018 murder case involving stolen guns and the shooting death of a Sparks man. Kareem Abdul Antwon Thomas Jr. 24yrs. from Reno pled guilty to one count of Second-Degree Murder and one count of Robbery last November. He was sentenced Wednesday, February 17, 2020 to 40 years in prison by Washoe County District Court Judge Barry Breslow. Based on the sentence received, Thomas must serve 15 years in prison before parole eligibility begins.
The case against Thomas began on May 11, 2018 when the Reno Police Department (RPD) responded to a report of a car accident and robbery of firearms. When officers arrived, they learned that the female victim of the robbery had been driving a male acquaintance, who was later identified as Thomas, home when he robbed her of two firearms she had with her in the vehicle. The victim explained that she had recently met Thomas through her boyfriend and was driving him home because he was too intoxicated to walk. At one point during the drive, the defendant began punching the victim and grabbed the guns from her. During the struggle, the car crashed and the defendant took the guns and ran from the scene.
On May 14, 2018, the Sparks Police Department (SPD) responded to a report of a shooting outside of an apartment complex on Greenbrae Drive. After arriving, SPD officers located a male victim who had been shot in the chest. Based on their investigation, it was learned that the victim and his friend were exiting the apartment complex when a male, who was later identified as Thomas, and a female companion crossed in front of their car. The pair were walking slow, so the victim’s friend, who was driving, revved the engine, prompting Thomas to yell at the victim’s friend. In the course of the victim’s friend driving around in the area, he passed Thomas and the female companion twice more. After the last pass, Thomas produced a firearm and shot multiple rounds at the car, striking the victim in the chest. The victim’s friend immediately called 911 and reported the shooting. Thomas got rid of the gun, which was recovered a year later during an unrelated Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) operation in California. After a forensic examination, the firearm used in the killing was determined to be one of the guns stolen during the previous robbery; the second gun which was stolen during the previous robbery has not been located and is still outstanding.
At sentencing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Zach Young argued that Thomas’ robbery committed against an innocent and unsuspecting female who was simply trying to help him by providing a ride home, and then his use of one of the stolen firearms to kill a likewise innocent and unsuspecting man just three days later, justified a significant prison sentence. The deceased victim’s family was present at the sentencing hearing, and passionately read several victim impact statements that addressed their loss and grief. The female victim also presented a victim impact statement, wherein she expressed sadness that one of her guns that was forcibly taken from her was later used in a homicide.