New York Daily News: MANHATTAN – A fugitive in last summer’s fatal shooting of a Queens dad was nabbed months later out of state when he assaulted a trooper during a traffic stop for driving under the influence with his headlights off at 1am, officials said Wednesday.

Tyrell Dennis was returned to Queens on Tuesday and charged for the slaying of 35-year-old Eric Thomas in Far Rockaway. Dennis had been awaiting extradition in Pennsylvania after allegedly assaulting a state trooper during a Nov 28 traffic stop, officials said.

Thomas was shot in the chest right outside his first-floor apartment on Dix Avenue near Pinson Avenue about 6:30am August 1, cops said.

Dennis, who lives less than a mile from Thomas, was identified as the gunman a day after the killing but the elusive suspect proved hard to find. He was ultimately grabbed about 250 miles from New York City in Franklin County, Pa.

 
“He did have a heart of gold,” his father, Herbert Thomas, 65, told the Daily News after his death. “What happened to him, he didn’t deserve.”
Victim Eric Thomas
Victim Eric Thomas

Dennis gave the trooper an Oregon driver’s license with another man’s name that was not his. After admitting to having been drinking and failing sobriety tests, he jumped out of the gray Hyundai Sonata and ran off, according to a local report.

He circled back to his car, jumped inside and sped off but lost control and veered off the road, officials said. He jumped back out of his car and punched and kneed the state trooper who then arrested him, authorities said.

While in jail facing a slew of charges for the traffic stop, including fleeing an officer, driving under the influence, resisting arrest and providing false ID, authorities realized he was wanted in New York for allegedly killing Thomas.

Thomas was one of four siblings, his father said. A younger brother died years ago from leukemia and the father said he did the best to raise the surviving siblings to be religious, giving people.Suspect Tyrell Dennis

Suspect Tyrell Dennis – NYPD

“He was always helpful, would do anything for anyone,” the heartbroken dad said. “I tried to teach them how to give, he was that kind of person.”

Thomas was working on a career in hip hop and rapped under the name “Born Eternal,” often mentioning his faith in his verses. 

“He was an outcast,” said his wife, Twuana Noelle Thomas. “He embraced the outcasts in the streets, he used to say the streets were his podium.”

NYPD detectives charged Dennis with murder, criminal possession of a weapon and menacing. His arraignment in Queens Criminal Court was pending Wednesday.

Police did not immediately disclose a motive for the killing but relatives said Thomas had problems in the neighborhood “with bad characters.”

“I’m not angry, I can forgive, I do forgive, but I do think justice should be done,” his father said last summer. “There was just too much blood . . . Such a violent way to go.”

  • Top Feature Photo: Cops on the scene in Queens where Thomas was shot Aug. 1, 2020 – Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News