Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mark Becker

Too late to save him

Aaron Thomas
Aaron Thomas

Several people called 911 to alert police to the shooting. Daniel Smith was one of the first adults at the scene. He had been waiting in the parking lot for his daughter to finish her work-out and ran in when he heard the commotion. He found Thomas lying on the floor in a growing pool of blood. Smith and another man tried to cover Thomas' wounds with towels. Parkersburg police chief Chris Luhring arrived shortly after and realized Thomas was in grave condition, needing more help than local paramedics could give provide. An ambulance whisked Thomas to nearby Dike, where a chopper airlifted him to Covenant Hospital in Waterloo—the same hospital Becker had left about 14 hours earlier. Thomas likely died en route and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Ed's wife, Jan Thomas, served as a town paramedic and was paged to respond to the shooting. When she arrived she was not let onto the scene. Luhring and others didn't want to subject her to it in the immediate aftermath, but Luhring drove Jan to Covenant in his police car. Thomas' sons Aaron and Todd were notified to come to the hospital. Todd was on a trip in the Caribbean at the time of the shooting — his beach vacation came to an awful, abrupt end as he frantically rescheduled his flight back to Iowa.


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