State trooper murder suspect had history of psychological problems

The man arrested for shooting a state trooper dead on Thanksgiving had a history of psychological problems.

Medical records from court filings describe threats made by Dabrett Black against his family and law enforcement going back years before he allegedly shot and killed Trooper Damon Allen during a traffic stop.

Black had an active warrant out for his arrest for aggravated assault against a public servant and evading arrest. That was from July 2017, when records show he tried to flee from Smith County deputies and even rammed his vehicle into a deputy's car to get away. That warrant was still active when he was pulled over by Allen on Thanksgiving.

Medical records attached to the Iraq War veteran's criminal court records also show a history of psychological issues, including PTSD and paranoid schizophrenia, leading up to those arrests.

In September 2014, just a year after Black ended his army service, records from Veterans Affairs show his mother called the VA for help with her son, who she reported "Has a gun and uses threatening language toward her and her family."

Black at one point also threatened to kill himself. When his mom was advised to call 911, she said Black "says he will 'open fire' on police if she calls them."

Three days later, a suicide prevention coordinator contacted Black who told them, "that crooked police wants to harass me."

In March 2015, it all came to a head during an incident with a Smith County Sheriff's deputy.

“Our first dealings with Dabrett Black was a little over two years ago, I believe, when we had a deputy that was severely beaten by him near his residence in Lindale,” said Smith Co. Sheriff Larry Smith. “It was also during that incident he attempted to take a gun from the deputy.”


Black was charged with assault against a public servant and attempting to take a weapon from an officer.

Court records show he pled guilty to the assault charge but the weapons charge was dropped as part of a plea deal. He served 225 days in jail and was arrested again in July 2017 for aggravated assault against a public servant and evading arrest.

“I had no doubt in my mind if he ever got the opportunity, he was going to hurt a law enforcement officer, he has total disregard and contempt for law enforcement,” Sheriff Smith said.

Though court records show some instability in Black's past, he was deemed competent to stand trial for his 2015 charges and in his VA records a social worker said he appeared oriented and alert, he displayed no psychotic behavior and his thinking seemed logical.

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