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OU's James Fraschilla witnesses end of Dallas standoff

Sophomore guard's pictures of man plummeting to his death circulate around the Internet.
by Jason Kersey Published: May 29, 2012

James Fraschilla wasn't sure what to expect when he grabbed his camera early Tuesday morning and posted up near a man's standoff with Dallas police.

Lee Dell Thomas Jr., suspected of stealing a rental truck Monday, climbed to the top of a 150-foot crane near the campus of Southern Methodist University and stayed there for 14 hours, dropping items from the crane.

“I just wanted to capture the whole scene,” Fraschilla said.

Fraschilla, a sophomore guard on Oklahoma's basketball team, and his brother went to view the situation earlier Monday. They live close to the SMU campus.

The standoff continued for hours after that, so Fraschilla returned at around 12:30 a.m.

When police sneaked up on Thomas in the crane's cab, he went over the edge and clung to it for a few moments before falling to his death just before 2 a.m.

Fraschilla captured photographs of Thomas hanging on to the edge and falling from it.

“He was hanging and eventually just let go,” Fraschilla said. “I don't know if he chose to let go or he slipped.”

When Fraschilla, a broadcasting major at OU, realized what he had, he rushed home, uploaded his photographs and began tweeting them to several media outlets.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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