Family wants answers after loved one shot dead at East Side apartment complex

Thomas C. Sheppard, 26, found behind Ivy Apartments on Lavender Street

By Katrina Webber - Crime Fighters Reporter, David Ibanez - Web - Managing Editor, Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Now that San Antonio police know the name of the man who was shot dead early Thursday at an East Side apartment complex, they may be able to find out who would've wanted to kill him.

Thomas C. Sheppard, 26, was found around 2:30 a.m. behind a building at the Ivy Apartments in the 4500 block of Lavender Street.

Residents had called police about an hour earlier after they heard gunshots.

Officers searched the apartment complex but didn't find anything unusual, Greene said.

A woman walking her dog later stumbled on the body, which was hidden between two air conditioning units, according to a preliminary police report.

Greene described the woman as a "person who typically walks her dog in the area."

"That dog likes to go to that exact area all the time, and that's where she saw the body," he said.

Detectives discovered the crime scene extended far beyond the location. 

They said they found shell casings near two other buildings and a gun near Sheppard's body.

But investigators don't believe the gun is the weapon that was used to kill Sheppard, Greene said.

"We don't know how many people were there at the time of the shooting," he said. "So it could possibly be the victim's, or it could possibly belong to someone else."

A detective at the scene told KSAT 12 News the evidence suggests Sheppard may have been running away when he was shot.

He said it appeared Sheppard was planning to scale a chain-link fence but got stopped by the barbed wire on top.

Sheppard was shot multiple times, police said.

Neighbors reported hearing as many as 20 shots being fired from various locations.

Sheppard's mother and stepfather want to know who killed their son so they can get closure.

"For him to get killed like he did, it had to be the wrong crowd. He was grown. We couldn’t stop him from going out and doing things because he was grown. We tried to shelter him," said Billy Veal, Sheppard's stepfather. “We just want somebody to come forward so we can get some closure on this.”

Sheppard's mother said her son's death feels surreal. 

“I’m going to be waiting for him to come through that door, or him messing with me. I’m not going to have that anymore, him finishing my sentences," Wendy Veal said. “He just had a good spirit. He was always smiling, even if he was mad.”

Wendy Veal said her son's death came too early.

“I want my kids to have to bury me, not me bury my kids," she said.

Police ask anyone with information about the shooting to call the San Antonio Police Department's Homicide Unit at 210-207-7635.

Sheppard's funeral will be held Aug. 22 at Bell Funeral Home. 

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