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Former Saginaw gang member freed from prison, gunned down in halfway house

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

President Obama commuted DeMarlon Thomas’ prison sentence last year.

Last night, he was murdered in Saginaw.

DeMarlon Thomas was allegedly connected to Saginaw’s Sunny Side Gang.  

He was convicted of distributing cocaine in 2008 and sentenced to 19 years. His sentence was commuted in November. Thomas was scheduled to walk free in March. 

But around 9 p.m. Monday night, two masked gunmen entered the halfway house where Thomas and others transitioning out of the federal prison system live. While one gunman held the hostages, the second gunman found and repeated shot DeMarlon Thomas. 

“I think it was connected one way or another to the gang he was from or a rival gang,” says Michigan State Police Special 1st Lt. David Kaiser, “as part of our investigation we’re trying to find out why he was targeted.”

The Michigan State Police Major Crimes Unit is investigating.   The local FBI office is also investigating. 

Kaiser says the halfway house is not under “lock and key.” He says the people living there are free to come and go. It’s intended to help them transition back into society.

Kaiser describes the fatal shooting as an ‘isolated’ incident.

It’s the second fatal shooting in Saginaw this year. 

A spokeswoman with the federal Bureau of Prisons says other individuals living at the Residential Reentry Center have been temporarily relocated.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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