Surveillance video shows murder of Parkland grandfather; widow appeals for public’s help

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PARKLAND — Danielle Jefferson is keeping her late husband’s memory close to her heart.  54-year-old Thomas Jefferson was murdered on Wednesday, November 9th while walking to the store in the 13000 block of Pacific Ave. S. in Parkland.

“My greatest memories were just the time we spent together. Just being together was good for me,” said Danielle.

Suspect vehicle may be a mid-2000's Chrysler Town and Country

Suspect vehicle may be a mid-2000’s Chrysler Town and Country

Condolence cards from friends and family provide some comfort. “This one says, ‘I like to think of sunbeams as those we love reaching down to remind us they are not very far at all’”. 

Thoughts of faith, love and strength that have helped her cope these last few months.

“I was married to him for 28 years. We have 6 kids and 5 grandkids together and he took him away from us,” said Danielle.

The two had just returned from church on the day Thomas was murdered.

“He left out walking down there to the store and then he never returned,” said Danielle.

Surveillance video from a marijuana retail store shows Thomas cutting through the parking lot and stopping as a white minivan that may be a mid-2000’s Chrysler Town and Country pulls in and stops.

"When he walks into the frame, it looks like he may or may not know this driver because they have a friendly exchange and they shake hands but whether he actually knows him, we don't know because he was known to talk to strangers and liked to talk to people,” said Pierce County Det. Ed Troyer.

The two continued to chat and then they shake hands again.  The driver pulls forward but then stops, gets out and punches Thomas.  He fell to the ground and later died from his injuries. The suspect got back into the minivan and drove away.  "What actually led up to the assault and what made him lose his temper, we don't know,” said Det. Troyer.


Thomas Jefferson

Investigators say there is nothing on Thomas' phone that shows he was going to meet anyone and his family says they don’t recognized the suspect or his minivan. “The video clearly shows he could have driven away in the van but he didn't. He got out and sucker punched a guy which put him down on the ground and was responsible for his death,” said Det. Troyer.

Danielle is focusing on her children and grandchildren as they all grieve and spending a lot of time in prayer. She is hoping that the killer is caught or chooses to seek redemption and forgiveness. “If he has any conscience, any heart, he should turn himself in because what he did was wrong,” said Danielle.

Detectives say the suspect is a black man but have no other description. Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County is offering a $1,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest in the case.  If you can help get justice for Thomas, call the hot line at 1-800-222-TIPS.  All calls are anonymous.