SAGINAW, Mich. — A man recently pardoned by former President Barack Obama was shot and killed by two men with assault-style rifles Monday night.
It happened at 9:40 p.m. at Bannum Place Federal Corrections Halfway House in Saginaw.
Michigan State Police spokesperson Lt. David Kaiser told WNEM the two masked men barged into the building and shot 31-year-old Demarlon Thomas, of Saginaw.
He was shot multiple times by one of the gunmen, while the other held about two dozen people in the home at gunpoint. Thomas died at the scene.
“One person watched over a group of them while another subject located the victim and executed him,” Kaiser told MLive.com. “They were looking for this person.”
The two suspects then fled the area. No one else was injured.
It wasn’t immediately known how long Thomas had been out of prison and living in the halfway house.
Thomas was a former Sunny Side Gang member, according to Kaiser. He was busted in one of the biggest drug busts in Saginaw, known as “Operation Sunset.”
In 2008, he was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the distribution of five grams or more of cocaine. The operation effectively ended the Sunny Side Gang.
Those who knew Thomas, who had also attended college for one year on an athletic scholarship, told MLive.com he wasn’t a hardcore gangbanger, but a nice person who got caught up with the wrong people.
“He was just happy to be free and have a second chance at life,” Carla Robinson, who grew up with Thomas, told the paper. “I actually talked to him even more before he came home. He was just focused on coming home. Before he even knew about the situation with Obama, he remained, ‘I’ll be home one day.'”
Thomas was among the 79 people pardoned on Nov. 22 by former President Obama.
His jail sentence was set to expire in March.