Wednesday, December 2, 2015

12022015 - Portage Police Body Cameras Ordinance - "Reckless and irresponsible", sayth Police Chief Troy Williams




Porter County police seeking body cams 
Bob Kasarda
Jul 30, 2016
NWI Times
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ZmDwUf2qWMMJ:www.nwitimes.com/news/crime-and-court/porter-county-police-seeking-body-cams/article_727a2c27-7696-5a5c-ae44-f3e413daf65b.html+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us


VALPARAISO — The Porter County Sheriff's Department is wading into the national debate over the use of body cameras by seeking to equip each of its officers with the documenting technology.

"We think it's the right thing to do," said Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds.

The cameras will better protect both the officers and the public by providing a visual record and verification of what transpires during calls, he said.

The debate over the cameras heated up in the wake of several high-profile cases across the country of alleged police brutality caught on law enforcement and civilian cameras.

Reynolds voiced confidence in the conduct of his officers.

"It's not a secret what we do," he said.

The Hammond Police Department equipped each of its officers with body cameras last year as part of an effort to improve community relations "through improved officer accountability and transparency."

Reynolds' proposal surfaced during a Porter County Council meeting last week when officials from the department appeared seeking to secure the necessary funding from a federal drug enforcement forfeiture fund. The council tabled the request after asking for more information.

Reynolds said he will need between $40,000 and $50,000 a year to equip every officer with body cameras. That price, which includes the hardware, software and cloud storage, could come down after the program is in place.

There is about $109,000 available through the forfeiture fund for the effort, he said.

The department is working on developing policies and procedures involving the cameras, he said, and will be testing out a couple of different types of equipment before choosing a preferred make. He hopes to have the entire proposal together by late August or September to ask the council for funding approval.

The cameras in question are worn by officers on the front of their uniforms and are designed to capture footage of their activities, Reynolds said. All the officers at the department are in favor of the cameras, including members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, he said.

Local defense attorneys have questioned the absence of cameras in police cars over the years considering the large amount of federal dollars that were directed back to area departments for their purchase.

Reynolds, who helped introduce the technology locally as chief of police in Portage, said it was discovered that vehicle cameras did not hold up well to the changing temperatures in the area.

"They kept breaking down," he said.

While some officers initially distrusted the use of those cameras as a form of "big brother" watching, they later came to like them, Reynolds said.

It is Reynolds' hope that each officer in his department will be equipped with the newer body cameras this year.










Portage chief: Too many unanswered questions on body cameras
Joyce Russell
December 05, 2015
NWI Times

PORTAGE | Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said this week he hasn't ruled out the use of body cameras for his department in the future.

But, he said, there are too many unanswered questions at present for the city to jump on the latest trend in law enforcement.

"It's not something you can rush into," said Williams, adding the issues run from privacy concerns to funding to equipment reliability.

The discussion of whether Portage should invest in body cameras for police officers arose at this week's City Council meeting. Councilman Matt Scheuer introduced an ordinance that would required the city to find funding and initiate a program by 2019. 

Scheuer said he introduced the ordinance upon the request of constituents. He said he believed the use of body cameras could improve the relationship between police and the community, reduce frivolous lawsuits and and protect both officers and those with whom they interact.

Both Williams and the Fraternal Order of Police objected to the ordinance, which ultimately failed.

Williams and the FOP, in its letter, said they weren't objecting to the possible use of cameras, but to the process and not being included in the discussion.

"There is a distinct process to this thing. We need to have the conversation and, in the end, we may see it is something we want to do, we may not," Williams said.

Williams said he has been researching body cameras and the issues involved with using them on a police department.

One, he said, is privacy, an issue that is currently being studied by a state legislative committee.

"When do we turn them on and when do we turn them off? Are they on an entire shift? What if we respond to a call involving a medical issue? What about HIPAA (medical privacy) laws? What if a call involves a juvenile?" Williams said about what he feels are unanswered questions about the use of body cameras.

The bipartisan state legislative committee has been taking testimony on several of the issues, according to recent news reports. The goal is to introduce legislation covering several of the issues in January when the state Legislature convenes for its next session.

Williams said there is also the cost factor and, with limited funding, prioritizing what the department needs. There is also the issue of looking at potential federal grants to fund body cameras.

"In 2018, we need to narrow band (communication radios) again. Right now we can't talk to Lake County. That is something that needs to be addressed," said Williams, adding he believes it is more of a priority.

Hammond is the only city in the region that has initiated the use of body cameras for its officers. The cost there was about $158,000 for equipment, licensing and video storage. 

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department spent months testing and assessing equipment during a pilot program this summer, but said they couldn't afford to outfit their department with the devices at an estimated cost of $2 million, according to an article in Police magazine.

Williams said there is also the issue of equipment reliability, pointing to dash cameras the department has used. He said they've used several brands, each time getting promises of reliability, but falling short of expectations.

He also disputes the claim that his department needs cameras at this point, saying in most recent lawsuits filed against the department, cameras wouldn't have made a difference.

"If someone is aware there is a camera, will it lessen their behavior? Maybe. Most complaints we get are that an officer has been rude," said Williams, adding in those situations the cameras could benefit the officer.

"We really have to weigh the pros and the cons and the expense," he said.










Portage police body cameras out of picture, for now 
Carole Carlson
Post-Tribune
December 02, 2015 - 9:16AM


The Portage City Council nixed a proposed ordinance from an outgoing councilman to equip police officers with body cameras by the end of 2019.

Matt Scheuer, D-5th, said Tuesday he introduced the ordinance because his constituents asked for it.

Police Chief Troy Williams opposed Scheuer's proposed ordinance saying Scheuer put it together without police input, bypassing the ordinance committee. Williams, however, said he's not necessarily opposed to police wearing body cameras.

"It's reckless and irresponsible the way this ordinance came up. I was not contacted and I don't believe the FOP was contacted… we're talking about making policy for the police department, but nobody from the police department was contacted," Williams said.

The council rejected the ordinance by a 6-1 vote, but did agree to discuss body cameras at an upcoming ordinance committee meeting next year.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Modesto said she attended an Indiana Association of Cities and Towns conference recently and learned it could cost $200,000 to $300,000 annually to store the video from all the body cameras.

Scheuer said the ordinance wasn't an attempt to micro-manage. He said they would lead to a decline in civilian complaints, improve relations with the public, and aid police in investigations and prevent frivolous lawsuits. Scheuer said he wanted to bring the issue up before he left the council. He was defeated in the May primary.

The Portage FOP Lodge 145 sent a letter to the council saying it hopes the decision on body cameras won't be rushed and include consultation with police.

Williams said he doesn't receive many complaints about Portage officers. "They're professional," he said. "I don't know if I have a huge issue with telling a gang banger... to get out of our city."










Body camera idea fizzles in Portage
Joyce Russell
NWI Times
December 01, 2015


PORTAGE | The idea of outfitting city police officers with body cameras drew intense discussion Tuesday night by Portage City Council and administration members. 

Outgoing City Councilman Matt Scheuer introduced an ordinance requiring the city to fund and initiate the use of body cameras by city police officers by 2019. Scheuer, who told the council at its November meeting he would be bringing an ordinance to the December meeting, said he introduced the ordinance at the request of residents.

Scheuer said he believes the use of body cameras would improve relations between police and the community, reduce frivolous lawsuits and improve civil behavior.

The measure was voted down 6-1.

Portage Police Chief Troy Williams called the introduction of the ordinance "reckless and irresponsible." Williams said the ordinance was introduced without any discussion with him or his department.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 145 also sent a letter to the council saying it was concerned about the proposal and the council dictating policy without any input from the department.

Scheuer said he heard nothing from anyone in the last month about wanting to have any discussions about the proposal and that the council's ordinance committee did not meet in the last month for him to present the measure to the committee.

Outgoing councilman Ted Uzelac, a city police officer, objected to the idea of "creating policy through law" and fulfilling a political agenda.

While the council denied the proposal, Mayor James Snyder asked that the proposal for body cameras be forwarded to the council's ordinance committee for additional consideration.










Police body cameras not the focus in Porter County
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
August 28, 2015 - 9:56PM

More than a year after highly publicized claims of police brutality began to unfold across the nation, law enforcement officials in Porter County are grappling with whether to purchase body cameras because of the expense of storing the data, among other concerns.

The Porter County Sheriff's Department purchased three cameras, known as body cams, about a year ago, though the timing was coincidental and not tied to events on the national scene, an official there said. The Portage and Valparaiso departments are still considering the matter.

"This has been a topic. We've talked to the sheriff about where does the money come from. Are there grants we can get?" said Jeff Biggs, commander of the sheriff's department. "There's a cost to even storing all the data."

The department wants to involve Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel in developing a policy for when officers should turn the cameras on and how long to store the data, but that discussion hasn't started because officials aren't sure the sheriff's department has the funding to purchase the cameras.

The department tried a few body cams out and some were bulky but more durable, while streamlined models were not as durable, Biggs said. The department purchased three of the bulkier ones about a year ago for $900 apiece.

The cameras sit in the center of an officer's chest and are turned on by a push button on the officer's belt. The cameras go on during traffic stops, warrant arrests and domestic violence calls – times when officers might be most vulnerable.

"Right now our guys have the discretion to turn the cameras on and off," Biggs said. The data is being stored on the external hard drives of two computers and none of the data is being deleted because it's only from three cameras.

If the department were to outfit all 45 of its patrol officers with body cams, Biggs said, it would have to come up with a better data storage plan.

Data storage also was an issue when the department had dashboard cameras in patrol cars, though those were vulnerable to extreme temperatures because much of the equipment was mounted in the cars' trunks. Potholes and rough railroad tracks also shook things up, making them prone to breakdowns, Biggs said.

The body cams are more durable and the department is looking into cloud storage for the data.

"This is something we plan on outfitting more officers with. It's a matter of funding," and coming up with a policy on usage and data storage, Biggs said.

The body cams offer a broader picture, literally, of what's going on, and officers can return to the station and easily view a digital recording of a call, Biggs said. "It's just about watching technology and what tools can help us do our job."

The Valparaiso Police Department has not made a decision on whether to go with body cams, said Sgt. Michael Grennes, that department's public information officer.

"We currently are not using them. We have looked into them and are still in the process of determining what we are going to do," he said. "We have tested them briefly with officers, but at this time we do not have any."

Myriad considerations go into deciding whether to purchase the cameras, said Portage Police Chief Troy Williams. Those include how to pay for them and maintenance costs; who gets them; chain of custody; privacy issues; how well the cameras record; and whether the department wants them for training, to check adherence to procedures, or because of complaints about use of force.

"For a department that routinely gets use-of-force complaints and is distrusted by their community, cameras would likely be a way to help some of that," he said. "We do not have those complaints and I believe we have a great relationship with our community."

His department had dashboard cameras about 10 years ago but had the same problems with them that the sheriff's department had. Body cams are something the department might look into for the future, he said, but they're not an imminent concern.

"There's a lot of factors the general public wouldn't necessarily know about that need to be researched," he said.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

11182015 - Tiara Thomas OIDV Murder, Portage Indiana - Hammond Indiana Police Officer Kevin Campbell Charged With Murder



Tiara Thomas





No bond for former cop in Portage murder case
Bob Kasarda
Jul 18, 2016
NWI Times
http://www.nwitimes.com/news/crime-and-court/no-bond-for-former-cop-in-portage-murder-case/article_10c11b42-0432-534c-8706-be5f48312fb8.html


VALPARAISO — A judge agreed with the defense Monday there may not be a lot of physical evidence linking former Hammond and Gary police officer Kevin Campbell to the slaying of his children’s mother.

But the presumption of his guilt is strong based on circumstantial evidence and that is enough to justify continuing to hold Campbell without bond while his case proceeds, said Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

“Thank you, Jesus,” someone said aloud in the courtroom after Bradford announced his decision.

The decision came after about an hour of testimony from Portage police Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers, who summarized the prosecutor’s case against 32-year-old Campbell.

Campbell is charged with killling Tiara Thomas, 30, who was found covered in blood about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in her unit at Park Place Apartments, 5970 Old Porter Road in Portage. She died later at the hospital.

Court documents point to arguments over child support and other money-related matters as a motive.

Defense attorney Susan Severtson asked for a bond Monday, arguing the case against her client is weak and his incarceration is hindering preparation for trial.

“It doesn’t show the court the evidence is strong,” she said of the detective’s testimony.

During questioning from Severtson, Meyers testified there were no fingerprints or other bodily evidence from Campbell found at the crime scene.

None of Campbell’s weapons were linked to the shooting, he said, and none of Thomas’ neighbors saw Campbell at the apartment at the time of the shooting.

Severtson downplayed evidence from Campbell’s son that his father threw a bag away at Columbus Park in Lake Station. The bag was never found, Severtson said, and neither was a key to Thomas’ apartment that Campbell’s 11-year-old son reportedly said his father asked him to bring along ahead of the shooting.

What police did discover is that while Campbell claimed to have been at home in Hobart at the time of the shooting, records show his cellphone active in Portage, Meyers said.

His home security system also recorded his front door opening and closing before the suspected time of the shooting and then again following the shooting, Meyers said.

Meyers said witnesses also said it was unusual that Campbell, rather than their mother, had the children on the day of her shooting, which was a school night.

Campbell also told police he had the same clothes on the entire day of the shooting, but his son disagreed, Meyers said.

Bradford scheduled the next hearing in the case for Sept. 26.













No bail for ex-cop accused in Portage slaying
James D. Wolf Jr.
Post-Tribune
July 18, 2016 - 6:01PM

There will be no bail set for a former Hammond police officer accused of murdering the mother of his three children in Portage on Nov. 18.

On Monday, Porter Superior Judge Roger Bradford denied the bond request for Kevin Alexander Campbell, 32, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, despite this being the first case in Porter County to address bond for murder under 2013 Indiana Supreme Court decisions.

Bradford said that until minutes before the hearing began, he hadn't known that 2013 Court decisions changed legislation that denies bail bond for murder suspects and now puts the burden of proof in bond hearings on the prosecution.

However, in keeping with the new provisions, "I'm not going so far as saying the proof is evident, but it seems the presumption is strong," he said.

Lisa Mays, the mother of the deceased Tiara Thomas, said "thank God" and began crying loudly when Bradford announced his decision.

She was comforted for the rest of the hearing by family members who also supported her on the way out of court.

Defense attorney Susan Severtson had argued the prosecution had no solid forensic evidence, such as fingerprints, blood or DNA, that Campbell was at the scene of the murder, Thomas' apartment on Old Porter Road.

Evidence presented Monday was "based on hearsay," Severtson said.

Portage Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers testified that Campbell had the three kids on a school night, which was a rarity, and that Campbell had turned the GPS off on his cellphone early in the morning, long before Thomas was found by her fiancé about 7 a.m.

Meyers also testified that Campbell was in financial trouble and paid $1,495 a month in child support and that police drove one of the children around Lake Station to identify a park that Campbell allegedly stopped at while driving them to school.

The child said it was to throw away a brown bag that included shoes, Meyers said.

Severtson objected to the police working with the child without parental permission, but Bradford allowed it because, as Porter County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Matt Frost said, the child wasn't a suspect.













Former Hammond, Gary cop arrested, charged with Portage murder
Joyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 
Dec 4, 2015 
NWI Times








PORTAGE | A former Hammond and Gary police officer has been arrested and charged in the killing of the mother of three of his children.

Kevin Campbell, 31, of Hobart, was arrested Thursday morning by Portage police.

He is charged with murder in the slaying of Tiara Thomas, who was found covered in blood about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in her unit at Park Place Apartments, 5970 Old Porter Road. She was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, where she was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. from gunshot wounds.

The motive, according to court documents, points to arguments over child support and other money-related matters.

A probable cause affidavit filed Wednesday in Porter Superior Court alleges Campbell shot Thomas sometime between 4:37 a.m. and 5:55 a.m. Nov. 18, then took their three children to school.

Police interviewed the couple's oldest child, a middle school student. The child told investigators that on the way to school that morning, they stopped at Columbus Park in Lake Station where Campbell dumped a bag the child believed contained shoes and other unknown items at the park. Police have not recovered the bag.

The affidavit indicates Campbell kept the three children overnight the night before Thomas was killed, which was unusual. It also alleges Campbell requested his oldest child bring him a key to the apartment nearly two weeks before the killing.

There was no forced entry into Thomas' apartment the morning she was killed, according to the court document.

The affidavit states Campbell paid Thomas nearly $1,500 per month in child support and the two often argued about the money and how it was spent. The charges indicate Campbell was in debt and his vehicle had been repossessed.

Portage Police Chief Troy Williams confirmed in a Thursday news conference that finances seemed to be a motive, but declined further comments on the case.

Thomas was discovered by her fiance the morning of Nov. 18. He found her body on the floor of the bedroom. Police recovered three 9mm shell casings, two live 9mm rounds and two slugs that had exited Thomas' body in the bedroom. They also found two pillows with holes in them, which appeared were used in an attempt to muffle the noise from two of the gunshots, according to the affidavit.

Campbell was interviewed by Portage police that morning, but denied leaving his Hobart home before he took his children to school. However, his own home surveillance system indicated the front door of the home was opened at 4:37 a.m. and again at 5:55 a.m., according to the document. According to authorities, that gave him sufficient time to drive to Portage, shoot Thomas and return home before he woke the children to go to school.

Williams said Campbell was deceptive with police concerning the whereabouts of his cellphone the morning of Thomas' homicide.

That deception, Williams said, moved Campbell from a person of interest to the prime suspect in Thomas' murder.

Williams called Campbell's actions "callous and calculating."

He said Campbell was taken into custody just before 6 a.m. at his Hobart home.

Williams said that, knowing Campbell was a former police officer and had additional weapons and body armor, police decided to deploy a SWAT team to arrest Campbell. The SWAT team, along with Portage detectives and members of the Hobart Police Department, set up surveillance at Campbell's home about 4:30 a.m. Thursday.

Williams said they knew Campbell usually drove his current wife to work each morning and planned to arrest him as he left the house.

"Our operation execution went flawlessly," he said, adding Campbell attempted to run when he saw police, but soon gave up when he saw the home had been surrounded.

"We know the public wants their police officers held to a high standard and when something like this happens, involving a police officer, it cast a shadow over all of us," Williams said during the press conference. "I hope that the speed in which we were able to develop our case and obtain an arrest warrant and take Mr. Campbell into custody shows the public that it does not matter who you are. If you come to our city to commit a heinous crime such as this we will find you and we will arrest you."

Hammond's police chief said last week he fired Campbell, a probationary officer, who had been identified by authorities as a person of interest in a Portage homicide.

Police Chief John Doughty said the officer was put on leave and stripped of police powers Nov. 18 after Portage police informed Hammond police the man was a person of interest in the homicide investigation.

Campbell was also a police officer on the Gary Police Department from Aug. 3, 2011 to Jan. 11, 2015, when he left to join the Hammond department.

According to records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from the city of Gary, while on the Gary department, Campbell had one written reprimand for an on duty car crash where he was found to be at fault. He also had two pending disciplinary actions, both involving charges of conduct unbecoming an officer.

Campbell left the department before disciplinary measures were carried out.













Cop charged with murder ordered to avoid his three children
Bob Kasarda 
NWI Times
December 04, 2015

VALPARAISO | Former police officer Kevin Campbell was ordered by a court Friday to avoid contact with his children as he faces a charge of killing their mother.

Campbell hesitated a moment before responding, "Yes your honor," to the order issued by Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford.

The order came during an initial hearing for Campbell, 31, held via a videoconferencing system.

Campbell was represented by defense attorney Roy Dominguez, who attended the short hearing along with Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel.

A preliminary plea of not guilty was entered on Campbell's behalf and hearings were set for Feb. 8 and March 7.

Campbell will remain behind bars without bond as a result of the murder charge.

Campbell was arrested Thursday morning and charged with the slaying of Tiara Thomas, 30, who was found covered in blood about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in her unit at Park Place Apartments, 5970 Old Porter Road in Portage. She was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, where she was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. from gunshot wounds.

Court documents point to arguments over child support and other money-related matters as a motive.

Police believe Campbell shot Thomas sometime between 4:37 a.m. and 5:55 a.m., then took their three children to school.

The affidavit indicates Campbell kept the three children overnight at his home in Hobart the night before Thomas was killed. It also alleges Campbell requested his oldest child bring him a key to the apartment nearly two weeks before the homicide.

There was no forced entry into Thomas' apartment the morning she was killed, according to the court document.

Campbell paid Thomas nearly $1,500 per month in child support and the two often argued about the money and how it was spent, according to charging information. The charges indicate Campbell was in debt and his vehicle had been repossessed.

Campbell, a probationary officer, was fired from the job in the wake of the killing after being identified as a person of interest in the case.

Campbell was also a police officer on the Gary Police Department from Aug. 3, 2011 to Jan. 11, 2015, when he left to join the Hammond department.












Tiara Thomas' fiance, brother remember her spirit
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
December 04, 2015 - 6:33PM

Tiara Thomas wanted nothing more than to help and love others, her fiance and brother said Friday.

No matter the circumstances or situation, her giving nature meant she put others first, they said.

"Tiara lived to please others, to help anybody who was in need," recalled her fiance, Marqtell Robinson. "There wasn't anything she had she wasn't willing to give to others, whether it was love or money. There wasn't anything she wouldn't give, even if she didn't have it."

Robinson and Michael Thomas, Tiara Thomas' brother, recalled her generous spirit and her devotion to her children.

On Thursday, Kevin Campbell, 31, her ex-boyfriend and father of her three children, was arrested and charged with murder in her deathTiara Thomas, 30,was shot to death in the early-morning hours of Nov. 18 in the Portage apartment she shared with Robinson, authorities said.

Michael Thomas said his sister and Campbell, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, were high school sweethearts and their families have been intertwined for 15 years. The two never married.

"The hurt for us is so much bigger than this isolated incident, and we still have a really good relationship with several of his family," Michael Thomas said.

Robinson, 20, said he and Tiara Thomas had been together about a year. They met while working for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, where they were both associates reviewing service applications.

They became engaged March 24 and planned a wedding for June 26, Robinson said.

Thomas' children, ages 11, 8 and 5, were her world, Robinson said, and she often volunteered at their schools in Portage, chaperoning field trips and taking any other duties that were asked of her.

"She was the best mom I've ever seen. It goes back to the loving and generous person she was," he said. "Her kids came first, no matter what."

Michael Thomas, who now lives in Athens, Ga., said he and his sister were born and raised in Gary, and she was a cheerleader at Wirt High School.

"I didn't really notice it growing up, but people would refer to her as my shadow," said Michael Thomas, who is two years older than his sister.

They held their own story hour, taking turns as they read books together, and Thomas always tagged along to his Little League practices with their cousins.

"She'd be the only girl out there trying to catch fly balls and hit with everyone else," he said, adding she didn't like it when people criticized his athletic ability. "She thought I was the greatest baseball player, even though I wasn't."

In addition to planning a June wedding with Robinson, Tiara Thomas was working on an accounting degree, which she would have completed in May, Robinson said.

She was the best mom I've ever seen. It goes back to the loving and generous person she was.
— Marqtell Robinson

She hoped to some day use that business background to open and run a day care because she loved children.

"Tiara was at a point in her life where she was finding her own way," Michael Thomas said. "She had really gotten to a point where she was finding her lane and moving forward."

Thomas touched many lives, her brother said, many more than he ever knew because she wasn't the kind of person who wanted to be recognized for it, a testimony to her values. On Nov. 28, mourners filled all 300 pews at Beyond Four Walls Christian Center in Gary for her funeral service.

"I like to characterize Tiara as someone to persevere through difficult times and help people get to where they were going, so she helped a lot of people out," her brother said. "Tiara's gift, I believe, was she was a connector. She connected with people. Even if people weren't talking, they were talking to her."

Michael Thomas said the family has established a GoFundMe page to raise money for her children.

Tiara Thomas was always about building and uplifting others, her brother said.

"We don't want to dwell on the tragedy of the situation, but we do want to dwell on the legacy of Tiara, and that is loving others even when it's inconvenient," he said.

The loss of Tiara Thomas is everyone's loss, her brother said, for the lives she could have touched for years to come.

"I don't want to see my sister as being a victim but as being victorious. We know we're not alone and other families are suffering with us," he said. "It's a very tragic thing, but if we can turn it around, that will be an amazing legacy to have been left by my sister."













No bond for former cop accused in Portage killing
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
December 04, 2015 - 4:54PM

Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford entered a preliminary plea of not guilty on a felony murder charge Friday for a former Hammond and Gary police officer accused of killing the mother of three of his children.

Kevin Campbell, 31, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, is charged in the Nov. 18 shooting death of his former girlfriend, Tiara Thomas, 30. She was shot to death in the Portage apartment she shared with her fiance, Marqtell Robinson.

Campbell is being held without bond.

Merrillville attorney Roy Dominguez, the former Lake County sheriff, is representing Campbell. His wife, Alicia Campbell, and his father, Kent Campbell, attended the brief hearing. They declined to comment afterward.

Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel is handling the case for the state.

Campbell, wearing an orange jumpsuit and with his hands in handcuffs in front of him, appeared via video in a room at the Porter County Jail with seven other inmates.

Campbell repeatedly answered, "Yes, your honor," as Bradford asked him if he understood the allegations against him and the penalties he would face if found guilty. Campbell faces 45 to 65 years in prison if convicted.

Bradford also issued a no-contact order between Campbell and his children, ages 11, 8 and 5.

No trial date was set during the hearing, but a status hearing was scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 8 and a pretrial conference for 9 a.m. March 7.

Campbell was taken into custody shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday. He was arrested outside his home in Hobart as he left to take his wife to work.

Police have said Campbell might have had a financial motive for his alleged crime.

According to charging documents, Campbell's vehicle had been repossessed, and he and Thomas argued about his payment of $1,495 a month in child support and how the money was spent. He had a bank account balance of $7.58 at the time of Thomas' death, and police found numerous voice mails from creditors on his cellphone, court documents said.

Thomas was discovered with several gunshot wounds around 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 when Robinson found her after he returned from work to their apartment in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road in the Park Place apartment complex.

She died a short time later at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary. She suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, head and both wrists.

Campbell was terminated from the Hammond department Nov. 23.

He previously worked as an officer with the Gary Police Department for four years, where he was a member of the department's Region STOP Team.













Former cop charged in ex's killing 
Post Tribune
December 04, 2015 - 3:36PM



Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said there might have been a financial motive for former Hammond and Gary police officer Kevin Campbell to take the life of his ex-girlfriend and the mother of three of his children, Tiara Thomas, last month in a Portage apartment complex.

Campbell, 31, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, was charged Wednesday and taken into custody shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday. Police arrested Campbell outside his home as he left to take his wife to work, Williams said at a Thursday press conference at the Portage Police Department.

Williams said Campbell ran from his driveway north to the side of his yard before he gave himself up. The Portage Police SWAT Team assisted with the arrest because though he was recently fired from the Hammond Police Department, he owned multiple firearms and still had soft body armor, Williams said.

Campbell was taken into custody and transported to Porter County Jail without further incident. The case has been assigned to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford. Because Campbell is charged with murder, it is expected he will be held without bond. His initial hearing is scheduled via videoconference for 3 p.m. Friday.

"Regrettably, Mr. Campbell was a police officer at the time of this crime and thus tarnished the badge. But make no mistake; Mr. Campbell stopped being a police officer the moment he pulled the trigger," Williams said. "In a time around the country when some have distrust for the police, Mr. Campbell did nothing to help that cause. I believe Mr. Campbell's callous and calculating actions go to show the type of person he truly is."

According to charging documents filed Wednesday, Campbell's vehicle had been repossessed and he and Thomas argued about his payment of $1,495 a month in child support and how the money was spent. He had a bank account balance of $7.58 at the time of Thomas' death, and police found numerous voicemails from creditors on his cellphone, the probable cause affidavit said.

"We believe there was some financial motive to this," Williams said. "There seem to be a lot of things that built up for Mr. Campbell. Being a police officer, you would hope he wouldn't take the type of action that he took."

Thomas, 30, was discovered by her fiance on her bedroom floor with several gunshot wounds around 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 when her fiancé returned from work to their apartment in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road in the Park Place apartment complex.

She died a short time later at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary. She suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, head and both wrists.

"As our investigation progressed, Tiara's ex-husband, Kevin A. Campbell, became a person of interest due to several deceptive and misleading statements that we knew to be false," Williams said. Police said those statements had to do with the whereabouts of Campbell's cellphone, which according to charging documents was found with Campbell's father when the two went to the police station for questioning the day of the murder.

"As our case continued and as our evidence mounted, it became clear that Mr. Campbell was the main suspect," Williams said.

Campbell had his children with Thomas, who lived with her, stay at his Hobart residence the night before the murder, the affidavit said.

The court document said he left his residence at 4:37 a.m. Nov. 18, drove to Thomas' apartment, where his cellphone pinged to a nearby cell tower at 5:38 a.m., and returned home at 5:55 a.m. in time to get his children ready to attend school in Portage.

Thomas' fiancé told police it was unusual for Campbell to have the children overnight during the week because he would have to get up early and drive the children back to Portage for school.

The return trip to Portage the day of Thomas' death included a stop at Columbus Park in Lake Station before Campbell dropped his oldest child off at Willowcreek Middle School, the affidavit said. The child told police his father "stopped the vehicle at the park and removed a bag that he took to an unknown location in the park. When he returned, he was not carrying the bag," the documents said. A police search of the park did not locate the bag.

Police said in the charging documents that there was no forced entry to the apartment and Thomas' fiancé found the deadbolt unlocked when he returned home from work, which was unusual because she always locked the door at night.

Campbell asked his oldest child to make sure he had his house key for a Nov. 6 overnight visit, the court document said.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said Campbell, a former Gary police officer, was hired Jan. 12 and was placed on administrative leave Nov. 18, after Portage police contacted him and said Campbell was a person of interest in Thomas' shooting death.

He was terminated from the Hammond department on Nov. 23. He previously worked as an officer with the Gary Police Department for four years, where he was a member of the department's Region STOP Team.

The day after Thomas' death, police released a picture of a 2003 black Ford with gray trim they said may have been at Thomas' apartment complex.

Court documents state that Portage detectives determined Campbell was driving the truck, which belonged to his father, because his vehicle was repossessed on Nov. 13.

Williams thanked police chiefs in Hammond, Gary and Portage, as well as Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds, for their assistance with the case, as well as his department's detectives.

"I would like to extend my sympathies to the Thomas family for the loss of Tiara," Williams said. "This was a senseless crime which now leaves behind three children without a mother and four children without a father for much of their lives."













Former Hammond cop charged in shooting death of his children's mother
December 04, 2015 - 3:36PM
Post Tribune


Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said there might have been a financial motive for former Hammond and Gary police officer Kevin Campbell to take the life of his ex-girlfriend and the mother of three of his children, Tiara Thomas, last month in a Portage apartment complex.

Campbell, 31, of the 6100 block of Wisconsin Street in Hobart, was charged Wednesday and taken into custody shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday. Police arrested Campbell outside his home as he left to take his wife to work, Williams said at a Thursday press conference at the Portage Police Department.

Williams said Campbell ran from his driveway north to the side of his yard before he gave himself up. The Portage Police SWAT Team assisted with the arrest because though he was recently fired from the Hammond Police Department, he owned multiple firearms and still had soft body armor, Williams said.

Campbell was taken into custody and transported to Porter County Jail without further incident. The case has been assigned to Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford. Because Campbell is charged with murder, it is expected he will be held without bond. His initial hearing is scheduled via videoconference for 3 p.m. Friday.

"Regrettably, Mr. Campbell was a police officer at the time of this crime and thus tarnished the badge. But make no mistake; Mr. Campbell stopped being a police officer the moment he pulled the trigger," Williams said. "In a time around the country when some have distrust for the police, Mr. Campbell did nothing to help that cause. I believe Mr. Campbell's callous and calculating actions go to show the type of person he truly is."

According to charging documents filed Wednesday, Campbell's vehicle had been repossessed and he and Thomas argued about his payment of $1,495 a month in child support and how the money was spent. He had a bank account balance of $7.58 at the time of Thomas' death, and police found numerous voicemails from creditors on his cellphone, the probable cause affidavit said.

"We believe there was some financial motive to this," Williams said. "There seem to be a lot of things that built up for Mr. Campbell. Being a police officer, you would hope he wouldn't take the type of action that he took."

Thomas, 30, was discovered by her fiance on her bedroom floor with several gunshot wounds around 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 when her fiancé returned from work to their apartment in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road in the Park Place apartment complex.

She died a short time later at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary. She suffered gunshot wounds to the chest, head and both wrists.

"As our investigation progressed, Tiara's ex-husband, Kevin A. Campbell, became a person of interest due to several deceptive and misleading statements that we knew to be false," Williams said. Police said those statements had to do with the whereabouts of Campbell's cellphone, which according to charging documents was found with Campbell's father when the two went to the police station for questioning the day of the murder.

"As our case continued and as our evidence mounted, it became clear that Mr. Campbell was the main suspect," Williams said.

Campbell had his children with Thomas, who lived with her, stay at his Hobart residence the night before the murder, the affidavit said.

The court document said he left his residence at 4:37 a.m. Nov. 18, drove to Thomas' apartment, where his cellphone pinged to a nearby cell tower at 5:38 a.m., and returned home at 5:55 a.m. in time to get his children ready to attend school in Portage.

Thomas' fiancé told police it was unusual for Campbell to have the children overnight during the week because he would have to get up early and drive the children back to Portage for school.

The return trip to Portage the day of Thomas' death included a stop at Columbus Park in Lake Station before Campbell dropped his oldest child off at Willowcreek Middle School, the affidavit said. The child told police his father "stopped the vehicle at the park and removed a bag that he took to an unknown location in the park. When he returned, he was not carrying the bag," the documents said. A police search of the park did not locate the bag.

Police said in the charging documents that there was no forced entry to the apartment and Thomas' fiancé found the deadbolt unlocked when he returned home from work, which was unusual because she always locked the door at night.

Campbell asked his oldest child to make sure he had his house key for a Nov. 6 overnight visit, the court document said.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said Campbell, a former Gary police officer, was hired Jan. 12 and was placed on administrative leave Nov. 18, after Portage police contacted him and said Campbell was a person of interest in Thomas' shooting death.

He was terminated from the Hammond department on Nov. 23. He previously worked as an officer with the Gary Police Department for four years, where he was a member of the department's Region STOP Team.

The day after Thomas' death, police released a picture of a 2003 black Ford with gray trim they said may have been at Thomas' apartment complex.

Court documents state that Portage detectives determined Campbell was driving the truck, which belonged to his father, because his vehicle was repossessed on Nov. 13.

Williams thanked police chiefs in Hammond, Gary and Portage, as well as Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds, for their assistance with the case, as well as his department's detectives.

"I would like to extend my sympathies to the Thomas family for the loss of Tiara," Williams said. "This was a senseless crime which now leaves behind three children without a mother and four children without a father for much of their lives."













Tiara Thomas' legacy is 'to love, even when it is not convenient'
Joyce Russell 
Dec 3, 2015 
NWI Times


Tiara Thomas was planning a June 26 wedding.

Her colors were navy blue and a soft pink.

The 30-year-old mother of three didn't live to wed her fiance Marqtell Robinson.

"We buried her in those colors," Robinson said Thursday, the day Kevin Campbell was arrested for the Portage woman's Nov. 18 homicide.

Hundreds attended her services at Beyond Four Walls Christian Center in Gary on Nov. 28. Many, he said, wore navy and soft pink in her honor.

In addition to Robinson and her children, Thomas left behind family and friends mourning her death, according to her brother Michael Thomas.

"She really loved and persevered on people," said Thomas, describing his little sister as a "very strong individual" who would rather struggle than ask for help. Yet, he said, she went out of her way to help others.

"We want to honor her legacy, which is to love, even when it is not convenient. Even when relationships were difficult, love was there," he said. "She loved her children to no end. No matter what happened, her children came first."

Michael Thomas said they have set up a GoFundMe account to help support the children. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/tiarathomas. Funds will be put in a trust for her children.

Tiara Thomas was not only planning her wedding, but had nearly completed her degree in accounting. Her dream, said her brother, was to open a day care center.

"She loved everybody's kids. She would buy diapers, throw showers and birthday parties. She had people's backs," he said, adding she never expected anything in return.

Michael Thomas said it is his sister's children that are keeping the family strong. The two boys, ages 11 and 8, and daughter, age 5, are living with their grandmother.

"They are stronger than we are right now. Marqtell and I were with them when they saw their mother's body. We were the ones that had to tell them the news," said Michael Thomas, adding, in essence, his nephews and niece have lost both parents.

"We are being the best that we can to be sensitive to the kids because Kevin is their father. We had a long relationship with him and his family. This hurts on so many levels," said Thomas, adding his sister and Campbell met while either in middle or high school and had a 15-year relationship. She graduated from Wirt High School.

Robinson said the two were together for about a year. They met when working together for a state-run social service agency.

"We just started talking. We just became close friends," Robinson said.

"She was beautiful inside and out. I never met someone so genuine and loving," Robinson said. "She was more than a mom, more than a woman. She was love. She was beautiful."

Robinson said his faith and the three children are getting him through this tough time.

"We have to be strong for our children. They are keeping me strong," he said.












Hammond police fire officer ID'd as person of interest in Portage homicide
Sarah Reese and Joyce Russell 
Nov 24, 2015 
NWI Times


PORTAGE | Hammond's police chief said Tuesday he fired a probationary officer who has been identified by authorities as a person of interest in a Portage homicide.

Police Chief John Doughty said the officer was put on leave and stripped of police powers Nov. 18 — the same day 30-year-old Tiara Thomas was shot multiple times inside her Portage apartment.

Doughty said the officer was placed on leave after Portage police informed Hammond police the man was a person of interest in the homicide investigation.

The man joined Hammond police Jan. 12 and was on probationary status until his termination Tuesday, Doughty said.

"During an internal review of recent conduct by (the officer), I have determined he is no longer a suitable candidate for our department," Doughty said.

Before joining the Hammond Police Department, the man worked for the Gary Police Department, Doughty said.

Doughty and Portage Police Chief Troy Williams have both identified the man, but The Times is not naming him because he has not been formally charged. He is not in custody, Williams said.

Williams said the former officer, a 31-year-old Hobart resident, is a person of interest because of his lack of cooperation with investigators.

"Our detectives are working feverishly to bring a resolution to this case," he said.

Williams said Tuesday there were no additional updates on the investigation.

A Freedom of Information Act request was filed Tuesday with Gary requesting information about the person of interest. The city's legal department has acknowledged the request, but has not yet provided information about the former officer.

Thomas was found covered in blood at about 7:30 a.m. Nov. 18 in her unit at Park Place Apartments, 5970 Old Porter Road. She was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, where she was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. from gunshot wounds.

Police on Thursday released a photo of a black Ford Explorer described as a vehicle of "special interest" in the investigation. Williams said at the time that detectives wanted to know if that vehicle was in the area of the apartment complex before or after the shooting.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call (219) 762-3122 and ask for Detective Capt. Joe Reynolds and Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers.












Chief: Review of conduct leads to Hammond cop's firing
Amy Lavalley and Michelle L. Quinn
Post-Tribune
November 24, 2015 - 6:19PM

A Hammond police probationary officer who authorities said is a "person of interest" in the shooting death of a Portage woman last week was fired Tuesday after an internal review by the department, according to Hammond Police Chief John Doughty.

Portage police, in a press release this week, identified Kevin A. Campbell, 31, of Hobart, as a "person of interest" in the Nov. 18 shooting death of Tiara T. Thomas, the mother of his children. Campbell has not been identified as a suspect or charged in her death.

"His lack of cooperation in the death of his children's mother is a concern to us," Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said in the press release. "Our detectives are working feverishly to bring a resolution to this case."

Portage police said their investigation into Thomas' death is ongoing and no one has been ruled out yet.

The 30-year-old Thomas died Nov. 18 from gunshot wounds she suffered at her ground floor apartment, authorities said. The Lake County Coroner's office ruled her death a homicide.

Williams said last week that Thomas' fiance arrived home from work and found Thomas in their bedroom, bleeding from the head and chest.

In a Tuesday email, Doughty said that Campbell, a former Gary police officer, was hired Jan. 12 and was on probationary status.

After Portage police contacted Doughty on Nov. 18 about Campbell being a person of interest, "he was put on administrative leave and stripped of police powers," Doughty said in the email.

"During an internal review of recent conduct by Officer Campbell, I have determined he is no longer a suitable candidate for our department. He has been terminated from employment as of today," Doughty said in the email.

Campbell did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The day after Thomas' shooting death, police released a picture of a 2003 black Ford pickup truck with gray trim they said may have been in the Park Place apartment complex, in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road, where Thomas lived, or in the surrounding area.

Anyone with information related to the case is asked to call Detective Capt. Joe Reynolds and Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers at 219-762-3122.












Hammond cop a person of interest in Portage homicide, police say
Joyce Russell and Sarah Reese Times 
Nov 23, 2015 
NWI Times




PORTAGE | A Hammond police officer is a person of interest in the shooting death last week of a woman at Park Place Apartments in Portage, an official said.

Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said Monday the investigation is ongoing and no one has been ruled out.

The Hammond officer, a 31-year-old Hobart man, is being considered a person of interest, Williams said.

"His lack of cooperation in the death ... is of concern to us. Our detectives are working feverishly to bring a resolution to this case," he said.

Hammond police spokesman Lt. Richard Hoyda said late Monday he could not immediately provide information about the person of interest.

The Times is not naming the person because he has not been formally charged. He is not in custody, Williams said.

Tiara Thomas, 30, was found covered in blood about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in her apartment at 5970 Old Porter Road. She was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus in Gary, where she was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. from gunshot wounds.

Police on Thursday released a photo of a black Ford Explorer described as a vehicle of "special interest" in the investigation. Williams said at the time that detectives wanted to know if that vehicle was in the area of the apartment complex before or after the shooting.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call (219) 762-3122 and ask for Detective Capt. Joe Reynolds and Detective Lt. Dennis Meyers.












UPDATE: Portage police seek public's help investigating shooting death
NWI Times
November 19, 2015 





PORTAGE | Police here are asking the public for help as they investigate the shooting death of the a woman in her apartment at the Park Place Apartments.

Tiara Thomas, 30, was shot in her apartment at 5970 Old Porter Road, Wednesday morning. Portage police were called at 7:28 a.m. to the woman's apartment for a report of a woman covered in blood. She was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. at the Methodist Hospitals Northlake campus in Gary.

Portage police on Thursday released a flier asking if anyone saw a suspicious person entering the woman's apartment before 7:28 a.m. to call the department's detective bureau.

Police also released a photo of a 2003 black Ford Explorer saying the vehicle pictured is of special interest and may have been in the apartment complex or surrounding area.

Police Chief Troy Williams said detectives want to know if that truck was in the area of the apartment complex before or after the shooting. Williams said the photo was taken at the home of a person of interest.

He said Thursday morning officers were out canvassing the area around Park Place Apartments where Thomas was killed.

Williams said no arrest arrest has been made, but officers are following up on several leads.

He said anyone with information should call (219) 762-3122 or (219) 764-5704. Callers can remain anonymous and no detail is insignificant, police said.

Williams said Thursday he still believes the shooting death is an isolated incident and residents should not be concerned about their safety.












Police following leads in Portage woman's death
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
November 19, 2015 - 5:28PM

Portage police are continuing with leads and interviews in their investigation of the shooting death of Tiara T. Thomas, and on Thursday released a picture of a pickup truck they said is of special interest in the case.

The 2003 black Ford Explorer with gray trim may have been in the Park Place apartment complex, in the 5900 block of Old Porter Road, where Thomas lived, or in the surrounding area, said Troy Williams, Portage police chief.

Thomas, 30, died at 8:21 a.m. Wednesday at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary of gunshot wounds, according to the Lake County Coroner's Office. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Williams said Thomas' fiancé arrived home from work and found Thomas bleeding from the head and chest in their bedroom and called police around 7:28 a.m. Police said the homicide occurred before 7:25 a.m.

Thomas was transported to Methodist where she later died.

A neighbor Wednesday described Thomas as quiet and said she had children. He said that lately there were a lot of people coming and going from the apartment but police were never called and he wasn't aware of any trouble.

"This is an isolated incident and we do not feel there is any need to panic or be fearful," Williams said.

Anyone who saw a suspicious person around or entering the apartment through the front or back door or a suspicious vehicle in the area before or during this time to contact the department's detective bureau, Williams said.

Callers may remain anonymous, and call 219-762-3122 or 219-764-5704 with any information.

"No detail is insignificant," Williams said.












UPDATE: Woman shot to death in Portage
NWI Times
November 18, 2015







PORTAGE | A 30-year-old Portage woman died Wednesday after being shot in her apartment, officials said.

Tiara Thomas, of 5970 Old Porter Road, was pronounced dead at 8:21 a.m. at The Methodist Hospitals' Northlake campus in Gary, Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey said.

The cause of death was listed as gunshot wounds suffered in a homicide.

Portage police were called at 7:28 a.m. to the woman's apartment for a report of a woman covered in blood.

Police spoke to Thomas' fiance who said when he arrived home from work he found Thomas in their bedroom bleeding from her head and chest.

According to a Portage police Chief Troy Williams, she was taken to The Methodist Hospitals' Northlake campus in Gary where she later died.

He said police canvassed the area and developed several leads, which were being followed.

Williams said this appears to be an isolated incident and residents should not be concerned about their safety.

One of Thomas' neighbors, Danny Allen, said he didn't hear a gunshot, but woke up when Portage police arrived. He said he could hear a man crying.

He said he didn't know Thomas well, but spoke to her briefly when they would come and go from their apartments.

He said he did notice a lot of visitors at her apartment.

“She had people running in and out of her house all the time,” Allen said.

Otherwise, he said the apartment complex is quiet.













Portage woman found with gunshot wounds dies
Amy Lavalley
Post-Tribune
November 18, 2015 - 3:23PM


Tiara T. Thomas, 30, of the 5900 block of Old Porter Road, died at 8:21 a.m. at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary of gunshot wounds, according to a news release.

Portage police are investigating the Wednesday morning shooting death of a woman who lived in the Park Place apartments.

Tiara T. Thomas, 30, of the 5900 block of Old Porter Road, died at 8:21 a.m. at Methodist Hospital Northlake Campus in Gary of gunshot wounds, according to a news release from the Lake County Coroner's Office. Her death has been declared a homicide.

"It's an isolated incident," said Portage Police Chief Troy Williams, adding officers began canvassing the area and developed several leads they are pursuing. He added the general public should not be worried.

Williams said Thomas' fiancé, who is not being named, arrived home from work and found Thomas bleeding from the head and chest in their bedroom and called police around 7:28 a.m.

Thomas was transported to Methodist where she later died.

On Wednesday afternoon, Portage police remained in the hallway in front of Thomas' ground floor apartment. They declined to comment on the shooting.

Danny Allen, who lives in the Park Place apartment across from Thomas', said he was awakened about 8 a.m. by police pounding on his door. "The cops asked if I heard anything and there was a guy crying. He was having a fit."

Allen told police he didn't hear gunshots or any other commotion.

He said Thomas had lived in the complex for about 1 1/2 years.

He described Thomas a quiet neighbor with children.

"She got the kids out at 7:30 a.m. and she was usually in and out at night."

He said one of Thomas's children attended Willowcreek Middle School in Portage.

Lately, however, Allen said there were a lot of people coming and going from the apartment. He said police were never called and he wasn't aware of any trouble.

"I didn't know her well. I just saw her as she came and went," Allen said. "She was quiet."

Williams expected to release more information about the case Thursday.