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Remembering Naquan Thomas

Posted Thursday, October 11, 2007 by Times Herald Record
Teen dies in shooting on Brooklyn street

Times Herald-Record
October 10, 2007
Middletown — At the top of the apartment stairs is the door where one of his friends knocked each day after school to meet Naquan Thomas.

At the bottom of the stairs is where 50 or 60 of his friends lit candles yesterday afternoon and told stories about the 16-year-old Middletown teen who was shot to death over the weekend in Brooklyn.

New York City police said a man fired on Thomas and a 39-year-old man about 3:40 p.m. Saturday on Pitkin Avenue.

The 39-year-old was hit in the shoulder and torso. He's in stable condition at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center. Thomas was hit in the torso and died that night at the same hospital, police said.

Yesterday, friends and Middletown High School classmates gathered at the apartment, just as they have done each morning and night since word of the fatal shooting spread through Myspace.com pages, telephone calls and instant messages.

"He used to come out on that porch right there and lift weights," Markeese Hines, 17, said, pointing to the third-floor balcony of the Genung Street apartment where Thomas — a high school junior — lived with his father, stepmother and older sister.

Hines, Dwian Gordon and Taj Miner would meet every day, moving from apartment to apartment until they ended up at Miner's house to rap or Gordon's to hang out — "get saucy," Thomas would say — and have fun.

"You go to sleep one night and everything's OK, and the next day you wake up and anything can happen," Gordon said.

Police said the shooting is still under investigation, and the details aren't yet clear. They have not made any arrests.

Friends said Thomas had gone to the city to visit family.

His uncle got into an argument, Thomas came to help and the other man pulled a gun.

Word of the shooting moved quickly through Middletown High School.

At the school, yesterday morning began with a moment of silence for Thomas. Principal Alan Gonzalez said grief counselors were available all day for students.

Middletown senior Yvelene Charles said she sat through the counseling sessions with other students. As the day went on, she began to speak up about ways to remember Thomas.

By the afternoon, she was talking to a cafeteria full of students. At the end of the school day, the administration put Charles on the public address system.

"Such a tragedy happened," Charles began. "Naquan Thomas has lost his life."

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