"Did u hear the officer in the Queensborough shooting was Thomas?"
A friend sent me that heartbreaking text at 1:01 AM Thursday morning.
I had just posted on Facebook that I was praying for SPD after I had heard that an officer had been shot.
Never in a million years would I have thought that the kind, sweet, humble, funny, quietly friendly Thomas, with a smile that could melt your insides, would be the victim of such an awful act. Thomas was killed in the line of duty.
How could this be? Why did this happen? Is this real? Why can't I stop breaking into tears? Why can't I seem to shake this feeling of heartbreak?
I worked with Thomas for just under two years. I was a reporter/producer/anchor in Shreveport. He was a photojournalist. A really good one. I usually produced nightside a couple of times a week, so I got to know him pretty well. I was even lucky enough to hang out with him outside of work a few times. He was one of those guys that was handsome and had such a unique quality to him that, at first, I was almost intimidated to talk to him. But, he always made me feel like what I was saying mattered. He was such a hard worker. If something crazy happened a few minutes before he was to get off work, and I had to send him to the worst part of town to cover something, he went without hesitation. He knew he had a job to do and never tried to get out of work. He had such a witty, dry sense of humor. You couldn't be around him for 5 minutes without laughing.
He was an incredible friend to so many. I count him as a friend, but I was clearly not as close to him as the guys at work. I was especially impressed by his interaction with Chris Redford. I challenge anyone to try to assign someone besides Thomas to Redford. It wouldn't happen. They were different in so many ways, but they had an incredible connection and the sweetest friendship. They had each other's backs. Together, they pounded the streets of Shreveport bringing stories to the public. Usually, those stories were about crime and how police officers were making the community a better place. This is apparently what made him decide to be a police officer.
I left Shreveport before Thomas became an officer. I can only imagine how good of an officer he was. I don't think there's a person out there who would make a better officer. He was made to do that job.
I wish I had told him how great I thought he was. Anyone who takes on the task of being a police officer deserves to know how incredible they are.
I pray that if anyone takes anything away from this awful situation, they remember to love everyone they encounter, especially the people like Thomas who leave a lasting impression.
I hate that I will never get to see his handsome face ever again. I hate that I will never get to hear about him getting married and having children. I hate that his mother had to bury her son today. I hate that the city of Shreveport is a little worse off today without him here. I hate that he is gone.
My heart is broken. I can only imagine that heartache his family and best friend are experiencing. My prayers are with all of you. I only wish I had been as close to Thomas as you all were.