On Thursday, October 26, 2023, the Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC) and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw presented several prestigious awards to DPS personnel. Among the recipients was the late Texas Ranger Thomas Arnold, who was awarded the Medal of Valor in recognition of his extraordinary courage during a life-threatening situation that occurred on October 13, 1971.
That fateful night, a man wanted for assault with intent to commit murder attempted to murder a Euless Police (EPD) officer during a routine traffic stop. Following the vicious assault, the suspect fled the scene and sought refuge in a residence in Bedford, taking a family hostage. A brave teenager managed to escape from the ordeal and alerted the authorities, leading to a tense standoff the following day.
Ranger Arnold played a crucial role in the all-night manhunt for the suspect. Upon receiving information about the standoff in Bedford, he raced to the scene. Prior to his arrival, the suspect coerced the terrified family into their vehicle at gunpoint, with the mother behind the wheel. Ranger Arnold joined the pursuit of the hostage vehicle, which came to an abrupt halt when an EPD officer blocked the road.
In an act of remarkable selflessness, Ranger Arnold disregarded his own safety by parking his DPS vehicle directly behind the hostage vehicle. This daring move allowed him to establish communication with the suspect, who held a sawed-off shotgun to the back of the father's head. Negotiation attempts by other officers proved unsuccessful as the suspect showed no intention of surrendering.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Ranger Arnold strategically positioned himself to minimize the risk to the hostages, should he need to use force. As the tension escalated, the suspect momentarily shifted his attention, moving the shotgun away from the father's head. Seizing this brief window of opportunity, Ranger Arnold fired a single round through the rear windshield, striking the suspect.
With courage and determination, Ranger Arnold then left his cover and advanced toward the vehicle. Drawing his sidearm, he positioned himself between the suspect and the fleeing hostages. Swiftly and decisively, he fired three shots at the suspect, successfully ending the terrifying incident and allowing the family to escape unharmed.
For his exceptional and heroic actions, Ranger Arnold was posthumously awarded the Medal of Valor. Present at the ceremony to accept the award were Ranger Arnold's widow, Martha, and his son, Tom Jr. Ranger Arnold's bravery and selflessness in the face of danger serve as an enduring example of the dedication and courage exhibited by DPS personnel in the line of duty.