Mother mourns son killed in parking lot of Longbranch Saloon

By Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Laval Thomas Jr, 47, lived with his parents in their East Bexar County home where he took care of them.

"When he was a little boy, he used to tell me all the time, 'Mama I'll never leave you,'" Mary Thomas recalled.

He kept his word until March 29, when someone broke it for him. Thomas said her son Wednesday night to get a lottery ticket.

"And he said, ‘Mama, I might stop by Longbranch for a little while on my way back home,’" Thomas said.

Laval was shot in the bar's parking lot on Highway 87 East, right after closing time Thursday morning.

Mary Thomas said she got a call around 5 a.m. from a friend who'd heard the news. Her other son went to Longbranch, where someone told him Laval had been shot and taken to Brooke Army Medical Center.

As they tried to get a visitors pass to get onto the base, Mary Thomas said they were told her son's body had been sent to the medical examiner

"That's when I realized he was dead. He was dead," she said. "That's when I realized that because when they said medical examiner, I knew then that he was dead."

Thomas said she has been disappointed with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office and what she feels is a lack of communication on their part. After her son's death, she said, she had to call the office to get information.

The only call she received from BCSO, Thomas said, came on Tuesday afternoon, more than five full days after her son's death.

"Stop and take the time and put yourself in my shoes and see how you would have felt if it had been your child instead of somebody else's child," Thomas said.

A BCSO spokesman, however, said in an emailed statement:

"Our lead investigator has been in contact with the mother of the victim since the night of the shooting and has spoken with her on several occasions; at which time the next of kin notification was made. And has also been in frequent contact with her."

In what Thomas said was the first in-person visit to the house, BCSO detectives brought her Laval Jr.'s pool cue that he'd had with him, which Thomas wants to bury with her son.

Now, she needs the detectives to bring her justice.

The Sheriff's Office is still investigating the case and is asking anyone with information about what happened that night to call the office at 210-335-6000.

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