Funeral held for 14-year-old shooting victim


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 14-year-old was laid to rest while the person responsible for his death has not yet been arrested.  It's the reality the family of James Thomas faced Saturday.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said James Thomas was on a mandatory swimming break at the Johnnie Walker Community Center pool on July 11 when he went to the parking lot and was shot by someone who had pulled up in a car. Police said the shooters never got out of the vehicle car.

Thomas' family asked for privacy inside the church for his funeral, but outside News4Jax was able to speak with people about his service and about his life.

James Thomas
James Thomas

"James, he was a good person. He always would make you laugh and smile all day," said Ryan Wallace, a friend.  "He was a good basketball player. Just someone you really could trust and he's like a good friend and he's really funny."

Inside the church there is a picture of Thomas smiling. That's just one way those who attended the service celebrated his short life.

Wallace says those are just a few of the reasons he came to Bethel Baptist Institutional Church.

Joining countless others to honor Thomas' life.

"I was pretty sad because we were at a basketball tournament. If he would have just came with us he would have been, well, we wouldn't be here right now," said Wallace.

Prayer, songs and reflections from family and friends all brought comfort to his grieving family and friends.

Jeneria Chrispin met James when he was just 4 years old, and says the service made the loss a reality.

"Just the fact that he's gone I won't be able to see him laugh and smile and play and ask me all kinds of questions and act goofy because he was like a comedian," said Chrispin.

A friend acknowledges there was an ongoing Facebook feud between Thomas' friends, and a rival group. However, police have stopped short of saying the killing was gang-related.