Parents grieve as BRPD probes fatal stabbing

Donald Ray Thomas left his parents’ 72nd Avenue home at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday after watching the Saints game, saying he was taking a girl out and would be home later.

He asked his mother to save a plate of food for him.

His mother said she did save a plate for him, but he never returned.

Thomas, 47, was found about 50 feet from his parents’ house at about midnight with a stab wound to his upper body, police spokesman Cpl. Don Coppola said.

He died later at a hospital, Coppola said.

His parents said he was found at the corner of 72nd Avenue and Pembroke Street, near their home at 2372 72nd Ave., where Thomas also lived.

Coppola said Thomas was involved in a verbal altercation with an unknown person.

The altercation turned physical and ended with the unknown assailant stabbing Thomas, he said.

Parish Coroner Dr. Beau Clark said the preliminary cause of death is the stab wound to the upper body.

Gordon Thomas said his son had a criminal history — including convictions for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in August — but he was a good man and did not deserve to die.

Gordon Thomas recently retired from LSU after 33 years in the maintenance department and said Donald Thomas, who is the youngest of four children, helped him build pools on the weekend and when he was not working construction.

“He was trying to make a better life for himself,” Gordon Thomas said.

Mildred Thomas, Donald Thomas’ mother, said she never expected anything like this to happen, especially to their son in their neighborhood.

She described her son as a happy person who liked to have a good time, but also someone who helped his family.

She said he did little things for his family, including doing her laundry Sunday morning so she could go to church before the Saints game.

She said he gave no indication during the game that anything was wrong or that he had any reason to fear for his life.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about the stabbing to call police at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.