Friends And Family Remember Thomas James McNichols, Killed In The Oregon District
Monday was another day of mourning for the nine people killed in the Oregon District shooting more than a week ago.
In Northwest Dayton, hundreds of family members and friends gathered at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church to remember Thomas James McNichols.
The funeral ceremony was standing-room only as friends and family took to the podium one by one to sing songs of tribute, read poems, and share their memories of McNichols.
His great uncle told the congregation the 25-year-old father of four was known as a diehard Cincinnati Bengals fan who loved spending time with family when he wasn't busy working.
“He always had a smile for everyone," he says. "We love you, Thomas. Rest in peace.”
Outside the church, small groups of people lingered in the parking lot, sharing more stories.
Friend Pooh Allen says McNichols, who friends knew best as Tee Jay, recently completed a certification to drive a forklift and dreamed of going back to school for another one in the field of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Allen says her friend often worked up to 70 hours per week on the overnight shift at a metal factory to provide for his children.
“He's very family oriented and grounded, so anything his family needed or wanted at the time, he would go. He was a caring, loving gentle giant," she says of the 6-foot-five man.
"He was a good father to all his kids and a hard worker.”
Allen says McNichols’ family and friends are still in shock over the Oregon District shooting.
They spent the last week raising money to make sure his kids had the supplies they needed to start school this week.