The 63-year-old homeless Eureka man was found
bloodied and unresponsive shortly after 8 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the parking lot of the Courthouse Market in the 900 block of Fourth Street. He later died at a local hospital.
According to police, Thomas had been in an altercation with a man outside the market in which some words were exchanged before the man punched Thomas in the face, causing him to fall to the ground. “It appears his death was the result of the fall,” said EPD Sgt. Kay Howden. “He was punched, causing him to fall, resulting in severe head trauma.”
The man who punched Thomas then reportedly called 911, telling dispatchers he’d been in an altercation with Thomas, who was now lying unresponsive on the ground. The caller was later cooperative with police, who also interviewed an independent witness and the caller’s 16-year-old companion who “may have also been involved in the incident.”
Howden said investigators will likely await the official coroner’s report from forensic pathologist Mark Super, which could take weeks, before forwarding the case on to the district attorney’s office for a charging decision.
Thomas’ is one of 37 homicides recorded in Humboldt County since the start of 2013, including 10 so far this year. Last year, the county recorded 16 killings, its highest tally in at least three decades.
The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has officially determined Terry Lee Thomas’s death to be a homicide.