MORRIS TOWNSHIP – A Hawk Run man was charged today with criminal homicide for allegedly shooting a 36-year-old Philipsburg man, Brett M. Bamat, Monday night at a Bass Lane residence in Morris Township.
Dustin Tyler Thomas, 27, has been charged by Trooper Matthew Gray of the Clearfield-based state police with criminal homicide, F1; aggravated assault, F2; simple assault, M2; and recklessly endangering another person, M2.
Thomas was arraigned at 2:45 p.m. today, and he is incarcerated in the Clearfield County Jail without bail. His preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Nov. 8 during centralized court at the county jail.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, at approximately 8:39 p.m. Monday, state police were dispatched for a reported shooting incident. Bamat was found deceased at the rear of the residence.
At the scene, Gray spoke with a witness who identified the shooter as Thomas. She said that when she arrived home at approximately 5 p.m., Thomas was there and had been doing things to help out.
She asked Thomas to leave; however, Bamat told him to stay, so that he could continue to help. The witness recalled that Thomas had a pistol on his right side throughout the night. Both Thomas and Bamat were drinking at the residence, she told state police.
At approximately 8:04, the witness’ husband who is incarcerated called, and she told him Thomas was there with Bamat. He advised her that Thomas needed to leave. When he was asked to, she said Thomas started crying and became distraught; he didn’t understand why he wasn’t wanted there.
Thomas then got in Bamat’s face, and they began to push each other. Thomas got out his pistol as a “scare tactic,” she said. The witness told them to get out of the residence, which they did. She said they continued to push each other and when she took two steps back inside, she heard a gunshot go off.
She went back outside to see what happened and saw Bamat in the yard on his side. Thomas was standing on the porch with his pistol in his right hand. Thomas then made the comment that “I just want to shoot myself,” got into his vehicle and fled south on Route 53.
At 9:22 p.m., a Philipsburg-based state trooper arrived at a Glastonbury Street residence in Hawk Run with several other troopers to detain Thomas. A few minutes later, a green Jeep Grand Cherokee pulled up and troopers approached the vehicle.
Thomas had his hands on the steering wheel, and a trooper opened the driver’s side door and ordered him out. Thomas did not comply. A trooper grabbed his right arm and another his left arm in an attempt to pull him out but were unable to.
When a trooper alerted them that Thomas had a gun on his right side, necessary force was used to get him out. Thomas was placed on the ground and state police seized his pistol.
Clearfield County Deputy Coroner Kim Shaffer-Snyder determined Bamat’s time of death was 8:30 p.m. After an autopsy Tuesday, she ruled he died from a gunshot wound to the chest and that his death was a homicide.