Gunman in 1989 shootout with Santa Rosa police denied parole

A 72-year-old San Quentin inmate who shot at a Santa Rosa police officer in 1989 was denied parole for the second time Wednesday.

Charles Thomas was convicted in 1990 of attempted murder, assault with a firearm on a peace officer and several other charges. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison plus life with the possibility of parole.

At the time of the shootout, Thomas had three previous serious convictions and had served prison time.

“We believe the Parole Board made the correct decision to deny parole to this individual,” District Attorney Jill Ravitch stated in a release. “He has done very little during his time in custody to show remorse for his actions, or a commitment to living crime-free in the community.”

Thomas was driving in Santa Rosa with his girlfriend and two other men on Feb. 8, 1989, when Officer Lance Badger pulled him over. Thomas falsely gave a name that matched a wanted man out of Oregon. When Badger tried to detain him, Thomas broke free, pulled a gun out of his waistband and shot at Badger twice, missing. Badger returned fire, striking Thomas in the hand, according to Ravitch.

Thomas ran into a backyard, shot a dog, broke into a house, shaved his facial hair and changed his clothes in a failed an attempt to avoid detection.

Thomas will be eligible for parole again in 2020.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin McCallum at 707-521-5207 or On Twitter @srcitybeat.

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