Jackson police: Injured officer in stable condition; suspect in custody
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JACKSON, Tenn. — One of Jackson’s finest prepares for surgery Tuesday after a violent attack while on duty. Sgt. Mike Thomas, on patrol Sunday night, made a stop only to find himself under siege by a man reportedly fighting with his mother. Thomas currently is in stable condition at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. Officials said the surgery he is expected to have is to repair extensive damage to his face. His colleagues said he has been in good spirits throughout the ordeal but that he still has a long way to go before he is back out protecting and serving the people of Jackson. “It was so graphic,” Interim Police Chief Julian Wiser said. “I almost didn’t recognize him when I walked in the ER last night.” Thomas was taking a quick break from patrol Sunday night to get a drink at a north Jackson gas station when he was blindsided with blow after blow. “He wasn’t expecting it,” Wiser said. “He wasn’t in the mindset of responding to a call.” Police say a woman approached Thomas when he got out of his car saying she was in a fight with her son, Cepeda Coble. That is when investigators say Coble knocked Thomas to the ground, beating and kicking him repeatedly. “How dare anyone touch an officer when they have raised their hand and sworn to serve and protect,” Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist said. Coble ran from the scene, but investigators quickly caught up with him across the street where they say Coble refused to surrender and had to be apprehended with a Taser. “We want to thank the people in the community for calling 911 and reporting what they saw, because we were able to have a quicker response,” Wiser said. It is a shocking act of violence that city officials say will not be tolerated. “This needs to be the first and the last time that this happens,” Gist said. “Not only in Jackson but in Tennessee.” Although the offender is behind bars, Wiser says Thomas still has a long road to recovery but that he will not be alone. “We’ve gotten a lot of calls and a lot of support from the community,” Wiser said. Coble is charged with aggravated assault and evading arrest. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday morning. Gist said he is working with other local officials on a bill that will impose stiffer penalties on those who attack first responders. Investigators said part of the attack was caught by security cameras at the gas station, but they will not release the footage until the investigation is complete.