FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTUU) Inmate Bobby Dewayne Thompson, 42, was working out when he heard the news.
Bobby Thompson, an inmate at Fairbanks Correctional Center, shows a photo of his son Treyveon-Kindell "Trey" Thompson. Trey was shot and killed July 29 in Anchorage.
“(My sister) called up here and informed Fairbanks Corrections that my son didn’t make it,” he said.
Treyveon-Kindell Bobby Dwayne Thompson, 21, had been shot and killed July 29 on the edge of a Muldoon neighborhood. He was one of five people who police say were gunned down this year by the same Colt Python revolver.
At the time, Thompson couldn’t understand why someone would kill his well-liked son.
“He was honest living, on an honest road, doing better things in life,” Bobby said. “For him to be out in the streets coming home from work, you know what I’m saying, getting killed like that. It’s very disturbing.”
Now that he knows the name of the accused killer, the facts are more confusing than ever.
Bobby Thompson grew up in Mountain View, attending East High School with his brother Quincy.
He left school and began accumulating a felony rap sheet that most recently placed him in the Fairbanks prison on drug and weapon charges.
Trey followed a different path. His mother kept him in line, Bobby said.
“He always had a job. I was proud of him for doing that," he said. "And he helped his mom, anything he could do."
Trey would rather play video games online than roam the streets, and once traded his car for a laptop, friends said.
“He was a nerd,” said Adaeus Wilson-Premo, Trey’s cousin and League of Legends gaming buddy. “As big as he was, as tough as he wanted to seem, he was a big jokester with a giant heart."
Six weeks after Trey was killed, police released a sketch of a person-of-interest in the case, but provided few details about the man’s involvement. It didn’t look like anyone the Thompson family knew, Bobby said.
The alleged killer’s identity remained a mystery until earlier this month.
“We was watching the news, the 10 o’clock news and it came on,” Bobby said. “I was seeing the picture and I did a buckle. Like what the fffu…?”
Police announced that a man killed in a shootout with police November 12 in downtown Anchorage had been carrying a revolver used in two unsolved double homicides in addition to the killing of Treyveon-Kindell Thompson.
James Dale Ritchie, 40, had wounded an officer who happened to be investigating an unrelated call. Ritchie died at the scene, wearing the same camouflage jacket and carrying the same murder weapon as Trey’s killer, police said.
Soon after, police announced they had enough evidence to name Ritchie as the gunman in the July 29 shooting.
Bobby was stunned.
“I never thought that it would be a person that I knew and grew up with,” he said.
In a connection that underscores James Ritchie’s deep roots in Anchorage, Ritchie had been a childhood friend of Trey’s father Bobby. As a teenager, he even sometimes stayed at the Thompson’s house.
“(For) days. Weeks. Whenever he wanted to come over to the house he come over,” Bobby said of Ritchie. “That’s my mom’s son. She loved him.”
Bobby said his brother Quincy and Ritchie were best friends. Bobby himself thought of Ritchie as a step-brother.
“He was cool man … It was all a bunch of us,” Bobby said. “Hang out, whatever. Play ball.”
A member of the East High championship basketball and football teams, Ritchie was one of the crowd.
“I can’t wrap my head around him doing this. I can’t. We’ve known him for a long, long, long time,” said Rochelle Jackson, who knew Ritchie as a teen and considers Bobby Thompson a nephew.
Ritchie wasn’t perfect, she said, but he didn’t seem dangerous.
“They did what they did. Smoke weed. Try to be ballers,” she said. “Most of them, to have a weapon, or strap, as it were, would be for show. Most of them weren’t clappers.”
“Placed in a situation, they’d probably fight rather than shoot someone,” she said.
Bobby Thompson remembers Ritchie as a funny, spontaneous kid.
“He wasn’t the kind of dude that just went around shooting people. Just wasn’t him,” he said.
After high school, the friends parted ways. Bobby dropped out, “took to street life,” he said. By the mid-1990s he was in federal prison. Bobby’s brother Quincy died in 1994.
Ritchie left for college, Bobby said. The two had not seen each other in many years.
Police have not described a potential motive in the July 29 shooting, although Ritchie is believed to have taken Trey’s bicycle that night. Bobby said he doesn’t know if Ritchie would have recognized his now-grown son, nor whether it would have made a difference if he had.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t think that he would have knew.”
Police, who obtained soundless surveillance footage of that night, said there is no evidence that Ritchie said anything before he shot and killed Trey.
The other four homicides linked to Ritchie’s gun remain under investigation.
(BELOW: A map of the 29 homicides this year in Anchorage. Blue markers indicate cases which have been solved or in which an arrest has been made)
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