Mourners visit makeshift memorial for Iyeesha Kia Thomas
Racha Barlow said she’s known Iyeesha Kia Thomas ever since junior high school, and the two of them spent time together the night before Thomas was killed.
Barlow said they were with several other people sitting on a stoop near the intersection of Middle Rose Street and Brunswick Avenue, where they talked, laughed and joked for several hours. Barlow said she left the stoop around 9 p.m. Saturday. But before they parted ways, Thomas pulled out Barlow’s business card.
Barlow is a poet, and for several years she has written poems that have been read at funerals for the city’s homicide victims. Barlow said she was surprised when Thomas showed her the card because she doesn’t remember giving her one.
That card - and that moment - was the first thing Barlow thought about when she learned of Thomas’ death.
“I wonder if that was some type of sign,” Barlow said. “I would never have left her out here, if I would’ve known that hours later she would be dead.”
Thomas, 40, was found dead in the 800 block of Calhoun Street around 9:45 a.m. Sunday. Prosecutors say she was lying face down in a grassy area of Blaine Alley suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Thomas was pronounced dead at the scene.
“She didn’t deserve to be murdered like that,” Barlow said. “Despite what she went through out here with individuals, she was a loving person.”
Dozens of people stopped by a makeshift memorial Tuesday to show respect for Thomas. The memorial contained her picture, several candles, liquor bottles and teddy bears. It also displayed a pair of red high-heel shoes that Thomas once wore. Two white sheets signed by people who are saddened by her death lined a chain-link fence, and one of those sheets was signed by Detective Sergeant Chris Doyle of the Mercer County Homicide Task Force.
A woman who goes by the name “Niecey” said she’s known Thomas for about 10 years. Niecey said she dropped to her knees when she heard about the murder.
“I fell to the ground and started crying,” Niecey said. “Iyeesha had a heart of gold. She didn’t deserve to be shot in the head like that.”
Those who stopped by the memorial Tuesday described Thomas as funny, loving and caring.
“She was hilarious; she’d do anything for you if she liked you,” Barlow said. “And she loved to babysit her grandkids. That was her time away from the block.”
No arrests have been made in connection with Thomas’ death. Anyone with information is asked to call (609) 989-6406. Or call the Trenton police confidential tip line at (609) 989-3663.
Tipsters may also call the Trenton Crime Stoppers tip line at (609) 278-8477. Those wishing to text a tip can send a message labeled TCSTIPS to Trenton Crime Stoppers at 274637.