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A mother awakened by her son’s murder

This news story was published on January 2, 2012.
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John Burgeson, Connecticut Post, Bridgeport –

BRIDGEPORT — Gloristine Thomas was in bed, half asleep at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday when she heard the gunshots.

“Pop, pop, pop,” she recalled. “Then there were three thumps at the door, and I heard my son say, `Mom!’ At first I thought that Greg forgot his keys. But I’m thinking, `Why didn’t he just ring the doorbell?’ ”

Still in her nightgown, Thomas ran down the stairs from her second-floor apartment. When she opened the door, her son fell unconscious at her feet, bleeding.

She told her daughter, Wanda, to call an ambulance. But in the first attempt, the call was disconnected. And when she finally got through, she was put on hold for a time, she said.

Then, Thomas said, there was an agonizing wait of “at least 20 minutes” for an ambulance. When the EMTs arrived, they attempted to revive her son “for a long time” both on the front porch and inside of the ambulance on his way to the hospital, she said.

Greg Thomas, 26, of 1323 Howard Ave., was pronounced dead at St. Vincent‘s Medical Center, the first homicide in Bridgeport, and perhaps in all of New England, for the new year.

“My son was dead when I got to the emergency room,” Gloristine Thomas said.

Police say Greg Thomas was shot at about 3:35 a.m. According to witnesses, he was walking with his girlfriend on Howard Avenue when men in a parked car shouted something at the pair. Angry words were exchanged, and a few minutes later, the same car drove slowly by the couple as they were returning to Thomas’ house. One of the occupants of the car then fired at least three shots at Thomas, police said.

Gloristine Thomas said she was told that a single bullet entered the left side of her son’s torso and passed through his body. She said, however, he was still breathing when she opened the door, and she believes that his life might have been saved had the EMTs arrived sooner.

As emergency workers tried to revive Greg Thomas, his girlfriend was seen some distance down the street talking on her cell phone.

“Why she wasn’t here with him, I do not know,” the victim’s mother said.

Greg Thomas’ girlfriend is believed to live in part of town known as The Hollow, near the intersection of Olive and Pequonnock streets. The couple had been dating for more than a year.

“Greg loved music —- he wanted to be a rapper,” Gloristine Thomas said. “He always told me that he wanted to make it rich so he could take care of me. Everybody loved him, young and old.”

Angela Peña, a neighbor who lives in the house next door, agreed.

“My mom loved him,” Peña said. “He was always outside when my mom walked my son to school, and he used to give her a hug in the morning.”

At about noon Monday, Peña had stopped by the front porch where Thomas lived and died to light two candles in his memory.

Thomas’ shooter was still at large Monday, and detectives are asking that anyone with more knowledge of the crime call 203-581-5201.

A video taken at the early-morning murder scene by showed police looking for shell casings at the Getty gas station next door.

The home is in a usually quiet residential block occupied by two- and three-family homes and apartments, and just one lot south of North Avenue. The neighborhood is peppered with corner stores and abuts the Mountain Grove Cemetery. The family has lived in the apartment for about nine years.

In addition to his mother, Greg Thomas is survived by his sisters, Wanda and Glenda, and a brother, Walter. The victim was the youngest in the family. Funeral arrangements were being made on Monday.

In 2011, police investigated 20 homicides in Bridgeport. The final killing of the year was on Christmas Day.

In that Christmas murder, police said a 26-year-old city man confessed to shooting the host of a holiday party because he thought he had stolen his wallet.

But detectives later found the wallet on a shelf in the Laurel Avenue apartment where the suspect had put it for safekeeping.

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