Chicago police have arrested and charged a shooting suspect in the death of Samuel Isiah Thomas, 19, who was killed in March.

Deonta Wallace, 20, of the 4300 block of West Adams, is charged with first degree murder. He was arrested Saturday, May 2, in the Calumet Heights neighborhood on the South Side, and has reportedly confessed to the crime. Wallace is charged with fatally shooting Thomas, who was outside his grandmother’s West Side residence with friends and a cousin on March 24 near Ferdinand and Ridgeway. His bail is set at $800,000.

Thomas was killed a week before his 20th birthday, which was March 31. His father, Samuel Thomas, 41, was shot and killed two months earlier on Jan. 22, outside his West Side residence. That case remains unsolved.

The unprovoked shooting of Samuel Isiah was the result of a verbal altercation with Wallace, policy say. According to witnesses at the scene, the argument was allegedly instigated by Wallace’s girlfriend. She reportedly came to the home and accused Thomas of saying something inappropriate to her. Angry, she went and told Wallace. Witnesses say Wallace came back to the residence and shot Thomas. According to police, the victim was shot in the chest and thigh. Thomas was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Also known by his nickname, Big Sam, Samuel Isiah Thomas is named after Chicago native and NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas. Catherine Elam-Thomas, Samuel Isiah’s grandmother, said she’s glad the shooter was caught but still grieves for her grandson.

“I still feel down because I know it won’t bring him back,” she told Austin Weekly News last week by phone.

Police called his mother, Andrea Serese Willis that Saturday night concerning Wallace’s arrest¡ªshe broke down in tears over the phone, Elam-Thomas said. The grandmother added that one of Thomas’ friends who witnessed the shooting was so distraught that he’s been in a doctor’s care ever since.

“When they do something like this, they don’t know how much they affect other people’s lives,” said Elam-Thomas, who still holds out hope that her son’s shooting will also be solved.


Prayer vigil for father and son

Samuel Isiah’s family, along with Cook County Crime Stoppers, will host a prayer vigil at 10 a.m., Saturday May 22, near the corner of Franklin and St. Louis, where his father was shot and killed on Jan. 22.