SAGINAW, Michigan — Police have released surveillance video from a halfway house in Saginaw, Michigan, where a man recently pardoned by President Barack Obama was shot to death Monday night, January 23rd.
The victim, Demarlon Thomas, appears to have clearly been the target of the masked attackers. One of them held several people at gunpoint, while the other shot and killed Thomas, execution-style. He died instantly, but the gunman continued shooting.
It’s not clear whether Thomas lived at the halfway house. His commuted sentence was scheduled to end in March.
The residents of the halfway house have been relocated in the wake of Monday’s violence.
Thomas was a former Sunny Side Gang member, according to Michigan State Police spokesperson Lt. David Kaiser. He was busted in one of the biggest drug busts in Saginaw, known as “Operation Sunset.”
In 2008, he was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the distribution of five grams or more of cocaine. The operation effectively ended the Sunny Side Gang.
Those who knew Thomas, who had also attended college for one year on an athletic scholarship, told MLive.com earlier this week that he wasn’t a hardcore gangbanger, but a nice person who got caught up with the wrong people.
“He was just happy to be free and have a second chance at life,” Carla Robinson, who grew up with Thomas, told the paper. “I actually talked to him even more before he came home. He was just focused on coming home. Before he even knew about the situation with Obama, he remained, ‘I’ll be home one day.'”
Thomas was among the 79 people pardoned on November 22nd by President Obama.
No arrests have been made as of Thursday afternoon.
If you have any information, call D/SGT. Jim Bush at (231) 250-9471 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-422-JAIL.