Police officials in Cocoa, Florida, say surveillance footage that captured the moment a father, Walter Thomas, 31, was shot to death after walking his son to a bus stop may lead to the gunman’s arrest.
According to WFTV, just shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday, October 26, Thomas – who is known locally as Bo or Bo Diddley — walked his 4-year-old son to a bus stop near Fern Street and waited until the school bus picked up his son before returning home.
Before reaching home on Grove Street, it was reported that Thomas and another man — who has not been identified — riding a bicycle became involved in a verbal altercation.
The unnamed named allegedly pulled out a gun and shot the Cocoa father several times before fleeing the scene.
The father of six was seen picking himself up from the pavement and running to his home, where a resident called 911.
When emergency responders arrived at the scene, the shooting victim was rushed to an area hospital but succumbed to his injuries just shortly after.
A relative, Felicity Jenkins, said “He made it in the house just in time to say, ‘Get the kids out of the house.'”
“My aunt started putting them through the window because she thought whoever it was coming inside the house.”
“I heard some pop, pop, pop,” said neighbor Laura Houston said. “I didn’t know what was going on. It sounded like shots because it was real, real loud.”
“When you live right next door, and it happened right next door, it’s unnerving, you know, and you don’t really feel safe.”
Another neighbor, Curtis Jacobs, said “It’s a terrible thing that another child will be raised without a dad, in our part of town.”
Yvonne Martinez, who is with the Cocoa Police, stated that the shooting was “unfortunate there were several children at the scene.”
“Whatever reason, whatever argument, it didn’t have to end this way. Hopefully, we get some closure and some justice for the victim and the family.”
Thomas’ mother, Anna Thomas, was devastated after learning of the tragic death of her son and said he was a “good father. His smile was bigger than the moon. He was a good child. If you didn’t mess with him you had your best friend.”
“I’m just hurting. His son doesn’t know right now. My question is, why so much hate? What did my son do to the person who shot him?”
In a Facebook post, Michael Will wrote “Guns are like tools. They are meant to protect you in your home. Not go out into the world and start acting like you’re in some game called Grand Theft Auto or think this is some live call of duty session.”
“Grow up and wise up! It’s cowardice to use guns on unarmed individuals. It only shows how much of a tampon-wearing little boy or girl you are. You have a problem with someone! Be a Man and let them know and then have a match with them. Whoever wins doesn’t matter. As long as you got that frustration you wanted to get out.”
“At least you don’t come out looking like a little princess because you used a gun,” the Facebook post continued.
The Cocoa Police Department have yet to identify the shooter, who shot the father after dropping off his son at a bus stop, or a motive but surveillance footage at the scene may lead to an arrest.
The victim’s relatives held a candlelight vigil Saturday, October 29 on Grove Street in Cocoa.
“So, everybody come out and show some love for a true soldier a hard-working family man — he was a real good dude, man,” according to a relative, Quantina Thomas.
If anyone has information regarding the Cocoa shooting, you are urged to contact Central Florida Crime line at 800-423-TIPS.
[Featured Image by Bo Diddley/Facebook]