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    Updated: Brinkley Student First Homicide In Eight Years

    5:34 PM, Aug 6, 2007   |    comments
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    Tammy Tucker says the 36 hours have been a blur and she's still in shock that her 18-year-old son Thomas Baker isn't coming home. "We're doing as best as can be expected you know; we all have our moments, but we're trying to cope," says Tucker. Brinkley police say around 11 p.m. Saturday, they broke up a back-to-school party at the convention center because kids were fighting. A short time later, police say the teens left and tried to get into the Notch Nightclub about a mile away. Nightclub employee Isaiah James says, "We wouldn't let them in here because they were too young. You have to be 21 and older to get up in here." Baker's friend Patirck Pruitt says, "Next thing you know, about five or 10 minutes later, I hear gunshots--boom boom boom--and everybody come running in the club straight to the back of the club. Some dude said Thomas is in the back of the club shaking or whatever." Investigators say it was another fight that resulted in Baker being shot in the neck. He ran behind the nightclub and collapsed. "Things happen you know. If it wouldn't have happened here, it probably would have happened somewhere else," James says. Baker had just returned from Dallas after spending the summer with family. He was to start school Aug. 20 as a junior at Brinkley High. "He had a wonderful personality. He was a prankster. He was such a joy to be around. He had an attitude like most teenagers but he was a lot of fun," says Tucker. As for her son's alleged killer, he's still on the loose, and while she wants justice to be served, she says she already forgiven him. "I have no hate towards him," she says. "We all make mistakes." Arkansas State Police have taken over the investigation. They hope to make an arrest by Tuesday and that the suspect could be charged with capital murder. Witnesses say Baker did not know his alleged killer who they believe is from Forrest City. Funeral services are scheduled for Friday.

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