A young man left his troubles and his South Jamaica home to try to better himself, but his life was cut short when he returned briefly to visit his family last weekend, his grieving mother said.
Theodore Thomas, 26, was shot multiple times in the chest outside the Unforgettable Lounge, at 112-22 Sutphin Blvd., around 3:45 a.m. Sunday, authorities said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, according to the police.
Theodore’s mother, Trudy Thomas, said her son had “a lot of trouble” before he left home two years ago to go live in a mountainous region of Pennsylvania with his girlfriend, 22-year-old Shamika Gebhard.
“Mishaps here and there,” she said. “He chose a better life. Before that he was selling drugs.”
Thomas said that even though she would constantly talk to Theodore on the phone from Pennsylvania where he worked at a maintenance job, he would often come home unannounced to visit with his mother, uncle and three siblings for short periods of time.
He most recently stopped in Friday evening.
“He knocked on the door and walked in. I said, ‘What are you doing here?’ and he said he came to see his family,” Trudy recalled.
With tears in her eyes, she said the last time she saw her son was Saturday night, when he told her he was going to a party at a club with his 28-year-old brother, Jamal, and his girlfriend.
Gebhard said that when she and Theodore arrived at the party, it was over, so they left to get something to eat. She said she had just walked around the corner when she heard the gunshots.
Thomas said she got a phone call in the morning from authorities and rushed to the hospital, where doctors were operating on her son.
“He made it to the hospital alive and passed there,” she said. “They said I can’t see him because they’re operating on him. I didn’t see him until after.”
She said her son, a graduate of Martin Van Buren High School, may or may not have associated with gang members, but he was not in a gang.
“He was never initiated into a gang. You can’t compare who this person hangs with,” she said. “He was friends with everybody.”
Thomas said despite her son’s background, he never thought twice about returning to his old neighborhood.
“He was definitely not scared to be in New York,” she said. “I don’t like being in New York either. I want to leave New York, but this is where the money’s at.”
“He was much more happier [in Pennsylvania]. That’s where his girlfriend lived,” she said. “He had a better life.”
The grief-stricken mother said she could not imagine who would murder her son.
“I don’t know who would want to kill my child,” she said. “Why did he have to come down here?”
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@
©2012 Community News Group
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