LAKE CITY, Fla. — It’s been 20 years, one month and four days since John Robert Thomas was found shot to death on a Lake City street, but police haven’t stopped searching for his killer.
On Sunday, Dec. 9, 2001, around midnight, the 19-year-old borrowed his roommate’s car to run to the local Walmart to return a bracelet.
Store surveillance video confirmed his movements inside the store but video taken in the parking lot captured two other people inside the borrowed Nissan Altima.
According to LCPD, a witness reported seeing Thomas later at a home on NE Washington Street, near the intersection of NE Broadway Avenue, with several other people between midnight and 4:00 a.m. The witness said that someone inside the home had been handling a small semiautomatic handgun, chambering and ejecting rounds.
The witness felt unsafe and began walking down NE Washington St. Moments later, they reported hearing gunshots coming from the house.
Other witnesses told investigators that Thomas had been involved in a fight, either on the porch or outside the home over a watch.
Police believe Thomas was “getting the upper hand” during the fight when someone from a crowd of onlookers walked up to Thomas and fired at his head.
Thomas’ body was found at 4:50 a.m. lying on NE Broadway Ave.
The Lake City Police Department asks anyone who has firsthand information about Thomas’ disappearance to contact investigators at (386)752-4343 or to make an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers of Columbia County at (386)754-7099.
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