NBC10 Philadelphia - Lu Ann Cahn
Plymouth Township Officer Brad Fox was killed Thursday night while pursuing a hit-and-run suspect identified as Andrew Thomas. Sources confirmed to NBC10 the this wasn't Thomas's first run in with the law. NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn reports.
Sources confirm to NBC10 that the man who shot Plymouth Township Police Officer Brad Fox and then killed himself, was the key suspect in the 1999 disappearance of his fiance and was currently on probation for theft and had assaulted a cop in his past.
Officer Fox was shot Thursday night as he was investigating a hit-and-run accident.
Andrew Charles Thomas, 44, was the shooter, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri-Ferman. Thomas was on probation for forgery and was the No. 1 suspect in the disappearance of Maria C. Procopio.
Procopio, 34, went missing in September of 1999 after leaving her shift at QVC in West Chester, Pa.
Thomas was never charged in that case but he did serve time for other crimes. He served about 18 months after pleading guilty to simple assault and a separate forgery charge in 2000, according to court records.
While questioning Thomas about Procopio’s disappearance police say they uncovered an alleged counterfeiting operation in Thomas’ home. While they were questioning Thomas, Philadelphia Police Lt. Frank Vanore says Thomas head-butted an officer resulting in his arrest for assault.
Vanore says that while serving time for the assault, Thomas told officers to dig up a wooded area in Whitemarsh Township. He didn't say what officers would find -- they wound up digging up a cache of weapons.
Thomas used up to 40 different aliases and social security numbers during his life, police said.
He had a history of forgery and was a fugitive for seven years after failing to appear in court for a in a 2005 counterfeit case. He used $140 worth of counterfeit Acme gift certificates in 2005, prosecutors said.
On May 21, 2012, Lower Merion Police arrested Thomas. The next day he pleaded guilty to a single count of theft by false impression -- four other counts were thrown out -- and was sentenced to two years of probation, according to court records.
Ferman says the SUV that Thomas abandoned during the police pursuit on Thursday was stolen.
Officers found Fox's body between railroad tracks and the Schuylkill River Trail. Thomas was found on the other side of the train tracks from Fox, sources tell NBC10. Prosecutors confirm he killed himself. He had two gunshot wounds to the chest and a 9mm Beretta was found next to his body.
Ferman says an investigation shows that Thomas -- obscured by tall weeds -- fired four times from an elevated vantage point on Fox and his K-9.