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Visit home claims young life

Trudy Thomas clutches a framed photo of her son, Theodore, who was shot and killed in South Jamaica. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

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@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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Reader Feedback

fateima from queens ny says:
Everyone loved him he was very Funny in always kept a smile on his face he didn't deserve this
March 29, 2012, 10:27 pm
Shana from Sutphin ans linden says:
Was such a good person. loves by many touched alot of people.. Had his problems as a teenager growing up but we all fought and ran around..never caused harm or issues to others.. He deserved better and had better in.pa.. Came home for a visit.. I love u ans truly are missed.. Love tasha shana ans rich.. We gone hold it down..
March 30, 2012, 9:30 am
Momo from Whitestone says:
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
March 30, 2012, 9:35 am
SHANIKA from BROOKLYN says:
TITO WAS SUCH A GOOD GUY, HE DIDNT DESEARVE WAT HAPPENED TO HIM... I KNEW HIM SINCE I Ws 14 YRS OLD AND NEVA ONCE DID HE DO ME WRONG.. ON APRIL 26 2005 HE BECAME A GOD FATHER TO ANIYAH DELEON, WHOM HE LOVED DEARLY... HE WASNT ALWAYS AROUND BUT HE ALWAYS WAS APART OF HER LIFE... WHEN HE RETURNED TO NY HE STOPPED BY TO SEE HER AND THE SMILE SHE HAD ON HER FACE WAS UNBEIEVEABLE... SHE LOVED HER GOD FATHER. HE WAS LIKE AN OLDER BROTHER TO ME & I WOULDNT CHANGE OUR FRIENDSHIP FOR THE WORLD! IM GOING TO MISS HIM! R.I.P TITO, I LOVE YOU FOREVER & A DAY ❤
March 30, 2012, Noon
Trudy from Atlanta says:
Wat sword did he live by Momo. MY SON DID NOT BELIEVE IN GUN SO HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT. IF YOU SAID SOMETHING ELSE I WOULD NOT SAY ANYTHING.
Jan. 27, 10:54 am
his wife from pennsylvania says:
I love u n miss u soooo much fu*k wat anybody say ur death was not for u but we cant change da way sh*t happen n momo fu*k u eat a aids infested dick bi*ch
Jan. 27, 11:27 am
his wife from pennsylvania says:
I love u n miss u soooo much ur death was not for u but we cant change da way things happen n momo eat a aids infested ****
Jan. 27, 11:28 am
pumpkin from jamaica queens says:
Trudy &meka we all know who tito was so it don't even matter what that chick is saying....r.i.p tito forever in our hearts♥♥♥♥
Jan. 27, 8:58 pm

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