Sentenced: Aug. 15,
1995, age 25
Residence: San Pedro
Crime: Murder of two police
Date of crime: Feb. 22, 1993
Location: Rosecrans and Dwight
Victims: Compton police officers
Kevin Burrell, 29, and James MacDonald, 23; Carlos Adkins of Los Angeles
Status: On appeal, opening brief
filed, state attorney general working on responsive brief
The Rancho San Pedro gang member
shot the Compton police officers execution-style when they pulled over
his red pickup truck.
Witnesses said Thomas closely
resembled the well-built man who wrestled with and overpowered the two
officers before shooting them in the head.
Burrell and MacDonald became the
first Compton officers killed in the line of duty in 26 years.
Thomas also was convicted of the
1992 shooting death of Adkins at the Nickerson Gardens housing project
in Los Angeles.
Before the judge imposed his
sentence, Thomas turned toward the officers’ families and offered
condolence, but took no responsibility for the killings.
Superman,” he said. “I couldn’t take out two people -- not two highly
trained, armed police officers.”
Ofc. Kevin Michael
Burrell and Ofc. James Wayne Mac Donald
Kevin Michael Burrell
Date of Birth: May 5, 1963
Date Appointed: July 3, 1988
End of Watch: February 22, 1993
James Wayne Mac Donald
Date of Birth: November 4, 1968
Date Appointed: June 4, 1991
End of Watch: February 22, 1993
Compton Police Department grieved for two fellow officers who were
gunned down following a vehicle stop on Feb. 22, 1993. Reserve Officer
James Wayne Mac Donald, 24, and Officer Kevin Michael Burrell, 29, were
the first officers in the department to die in the line of duty.
At some time between 11 p.m. and 11:15 p.m., the
officers were answering an unrelated disturbance call when they spotted
a "possible traffic violation of suspicious circumstances," and decided
to make a traffic stop on a customized red Chevrolet pick-up truck
traveling westbound on Rosecrans Avenue from Wilmington Avenue. The
pick-up truck was pulled over and stopped on Rosecrans Avenue just east
of Dwight Avenue.
Based on witness statements after the event, Officers
Burrell and Mac Donald approached the red truck and the suspect exited
the driver's door. Reportedly, both officers were attempting to
physically restrain the suspect, each officer was attempting to control
the suspect's arms by placing them behind his back. During the struggle
the suspect was able to arm himself from his person with a 9 mm semi-automatic
pistol and began shooting at both officers.
Upon falling to the ground, officers still received
gunfire from the suspect. The suspect re-entered the truck and fled the
The Police Department received a number of telephone
calls from citizens who reported hearing shots being fired and/or
observing two uniformed officers "down" in the street in the area of
Rosecrans and Dwight Avenues. Compton patrol officers quickly arrived on
the scene and observed both officers suffering from multiple gunshot
wounds to their heads and bodies laying motionless in the street near
the front of their patrol car, their service weapons were still
holstered and secured and their backup weapons still in their pockets.
The information was broadcast over the radio and
shortly dozens of patrol units from various agencies converged on the
location. An intensive manhunt for the suspect was conducted throughout
the night and days following. The suspect, later identified as Regis
Deon Thomas and a member of a notorious Los Angeles gang known as "Bounty
Hunters", was eventually identified.
Through news media coverage he became aware that he
was wanted by the Compton Police in connection with the murders of
Officers Burrell and Mac Donald, he arranged with the news media to
surrender himself to a television reporter, who subsequently surrendered
the suspect to authorities.
The suspect who was on parole was subsequently tried
and convicted of the murders, he received the death penalty and is
presently awaiting his appeal.