Vigil for Sunday murder victim, family left with questions about gun violence

(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya/WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  Laquoia Arnold was sitting inside her home on 24th Street when she heard a barrage of gunshots fly into the air.

"It was over 10 to 15 rounds going off," Arnold said.

When she and her boyfriend ran outside to see what happened, they soon found her long-time friend, 26-year-old Lavonte Thomas, bleeding from gunshot wounds.

"I just held his bullet wounds," Arnold said. "It was, like, three of them, and I just kept putting pressure on them."

She hoped and prayed Lavonte would get through it, unfortunately, he did not make it.

Thomas was pronounced dead at Midtown Medical Center Sunday night— the second man shot and killed within 24 hours in the Fountain City.

Ellisha Rodgers, Thomas' cousin, was in shock when she first found out Thomas was murdered.  This, after she'd learned 21-year-old Jakorbin King was shot and killed on 33rd Street that same morning.

"It's senseless: 2 shootings in 24 hours. It's like the good always die young, you know? It's just senseless," Arnold said.

The Columbus Police Department is still searching for whoever is responsible for both King and Thomas' murders. They mark the 8th and 9th murders, respectively, in Columbus so far in 2017.

Rodgers said says she will remember "E.T", as he was affectionately known, for his loving spirit.

"He was a loving, caring person. He loved music, loved dance, it was just the type of person he was. He loved hard," said Arnold.

Meanwhile, Arnold and more than 25 neighbors and family members gathered outside Thomas' home, lighting candles and hoping the police find the person responsible for their loss.

"We just want justice, because for an innocent man to die the way he did, wasn't right," Arnold said.  "I just hope the person that did do it...God forgives everybody, but you have to pay for what you did. You did the crime, you got to pay."

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