Criminal Justice

Lawyer accused of bringing gun to law office that fired her

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Updated: A Texas lawyer is accused of bringing a handgun last Friday to the Denton law office that had just fired her.

Police arrested Petrina Thompson, 53, and charged her with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The Denton Record Chronicle, Fox 4 News and NBCDFW have coverage.

A 911 caller said Thompson had been fired from Martinez Legal in Denton before she brought a gun to the office and fired it. The law firm’s areas of practice include family law and estate planning.

Police pulled Thompson over in her car about a mile from the law office. Officers said they found a gun, but it was jammed. Police said they were trying to determine whether Thompson actually fired a shot because they did not find bullet casings or holes in the law office.

Martinez Legal said in a statement on Tuesday that Thompson was fired last Friday after working at the law office for only a few weeks, CBSDFW reports.

The statement alleges that Thompson went to the car while she was cleaning out her office and returned with a duffel bag containing a gun. When Thompson allegedly pulled out the gun, lawyer Marci Martinez and her paralegal ran out in opposite directions.

One gunshot was allegedly fired before the gun jammed. “Thankfully no one was injured,” the statement said.

According to the Denton Chronicle, federal court records indicate Thompson formerly worked at the Dallas City Attorney’s office, but the office did not return its phone calls to verify employment.

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that a woman named Petrina Thompson could not sue the Dallas City Attorney’s office for workplace harassment and discrimination because similar claims had been tossed under state law for being filed too late.

Thompson had begun working in the City Attorney’s office in October 2011 and was fired about a year after her transfer to a different division in December 2014, according to her complaint.

A woman named Petrina Thompson also sued Legal Aid of Northwestern Texas for alleged discrimination in federal court in June 2018. Her claims were dismissed in March of this year.

The complaint said Thompson began working part time for a legal-aid hotline in February 2017 and was fired by email in June 2017.

State bar records indicate Thompson received her license to practice law in Texas in November 2009.

Updated on Nov. 20 to include statement by Martinez Legal.

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