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Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

EAST CHICAGO — A man killed last weekend in a shooting at a gas station in the city's Calumet neighborhood was known for his witty sense of humor and laugh, his family said.

Brian Thomas, 33, of Hammond, was fatally shot during a barrage of gunfire July 28 as people gathered at the Fuel Star gas station in the 4900 block of Kennedy Avenue in East Chicago.

Martayveus Carter, 23, an East Chicago Central football star who had recently worked out with the Kansas City Chiefs, was wounded in the shooting.

Thomas' sister Cirena Thomas she he was loved and appreciated by his family.

"They took my heart when they killed him," she said.

The family will remember Brian Thomas during a vigil set for 6 p.m. Friday at the Fuel Star gas station at 149th Street and Kennedy Avenue.

Thomas was a counselor, protector, mediator and best friend to his siblings and father figure to his nieces, the family said in a statement.

He graduated from East Chicago Central High School in 2008 and worked as a table dealer at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond.

He often would tell family his customers missed him on his days off, because he was one of a kind.

"Brian was vibrant and full of life," the family said. "He literally lit up the room."

Visitation is set for 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Greater First Baptist Church, 4862 Olcott Ave., East Chicago. Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m., with Bishop Tavis Grant II officiating.

Police are still investigating Thomas' homicide.

Anyone with video or photos of the shooting or its aftermath or other information is asked to call Detective Miguel Pena at 219-391-8318. To remain anonymous, call 219-391-8500.

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Public Safety Reporter

Sarah covers crime, federal courts and breaking news for The Times. She joined the paper in 2004 after graduating from Purdue University Calumet.