Newark police say they found 27-year-old Frederick "Buddy" Thomas lying unconscious in the grass near a pizzeria in Newark last Friday night. Police say there are unanswered questions but Thomas was involved in some type of fight. He died Tuesday at Strong Memorial Hospital. Thomas worked at the Wayne County Nursing Home.
Newark police are investigating following the death of a man beaten in Newark last Friday.
Frederick Thomas, age 27, died at Strong Memorial Hospital on Tuesday.
"Why did you do this to my son and left him on the ground like he was nothing," asks Tonya Collins of her son's attacker.
Collins thought she would never become a grieving mother who loses her son to senseless violence especially not the second of her three sons, Frederick Thomas. She says her son didn’t have enemies.
"My son was a kind sweet person that didn’t fight," says Collins, "so whoever did this, why?"
Friday night, around 10 p.m., Thomas was found lying in the grass near BB's Pizzeria on East Avenue in Newark. Newark Police Chief David Christler says there are still some unanswered questions. He says the call came in to 911 as a drug overdose. But when officers arrived, he says they realized it was something else.
"He was unconscious," says Chief Christler. "It’s difficult sometimes to tell the difference between an assault and a heroin overdose. We’ve had several heroin overdoses that are very similar. But when they pulled him up to help him, there was blood under his head."
Thomas’ family members tell me his brain was swollen when he died. Witnesses we spoke with told us it took the ambulance at least 25 minutes to arrive. Chief Christler says Thomas was involved in a fight.
"From the information we are getting, I can tell you it sounds like a senseless fight and it should not have happened," the chief says.
Known affectionately as “Buddy,” Thomas grew up in Wayne County. He loved music. He worked at the Wayne County Nursing Home.
"Buddy was the nicest person I know," says Alexis Jones, cousin. "He was kind; he was loving, really down to earth. He really never bothered anyone. His smile would light up a room. If you ask anyone, they will probably tell you he was a really good guy."
Chief Christler says investigators have a few more interviews to conduct but says his department is close to making an arrest.