CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A large group of family and friends gathered at Camelot Park in Chesapeake to celebrate the life of Clayton Thomas on Tuesday night. The Chesapeake man lived in Camelot and grew up in the area. He was shot and killed inside a Wendy’s by an unknown man on Sunday night.
“Always a stand up guy,” said longtime friend and barber, Troy Holland. “He always made you laugh It was just his personality.”
The shooting happened around 8:30 p.m. at the Wendy’s located at 3904 Victory Boulevard in Portsmouth.
Portsmouth police spokeswoman Detective Misty Holley confirmed both Thomas and the suspect were customers of the Wendy’s. Holley said Thomas was found dead in the bathroom and the suspect fled from the scene.
“I have no idea,” said Holland, when asked why someone would want to kill Thomas. “I mean, this was a good man. He was even taking care of his mom.”
Many remarked on how tall Thomas was at around 6’2 or 6’3.
“When I go stand into my nephew’s arms, I feel like a little girl because he’s so big with a kind heart,” said his aunt Shelia Benton in front of the crowd Tuesday night.
Thomas’ daughter, Atiyah Teal, organized the vigil. She said her father also had one grandchild.
“A person is here today and then they’re gone tomorrow,” said Teal through tears. “Never in a million years would I think that I would have to bury my daddy this young.”
Thomas’ sister, Monika Thomas, said she didn’t want to speculate on what went wrong inside the Wendy’s. She said, as far as she knew, her brother was there eating.
Holland and others said they trust the suspect will be caught because of the restaurant’s surveillance cameras.
“I wish he would come forward or whatever,” said Holland about the suspect. “Because you did it in a public place. Like Wendy’s, they have cameras everywhere.”
Holley said surveillance video has been pulled from the restaurant. However, it is not being released as the investigation and search for the suspect continues.
Teal has created a GoFundMe page to raise money for her father’s funeral. Click the link for more information.