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Parkersburg Coach

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Updated June 24.

2009 4:50PMAplington-Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas shot to death By Jeff Raasch and Orlan LoveThe [email protected] (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)Bouquets of flowers and other memorials are placed into a chain link fence surrounding a playing field near the building housing the scene of the shooting of Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas Wednesday, June 24, 2009, in Parkersburg.Worth A LookFrom Jeff Linder: Ed Thomas had 'winner' written all over himFrom Mike Hlas: Ed Thomas in his own wordsFrom Jeff Linder: High school coaches react to the newsWhat Twitter users are saying about Ed Thomas: Go hereWhat Twitter users are saying about Parkersburg: Go hereMemorial Facebook pageUPDATE: Ed Thomas� son, Aaron Thomas, spoke at a press conference in Parkersburg this afternoon on the shooting death of his father.�With the shocking events of the day, nothing could prepare you for what our family or community is going through,� Aaron said.

�A man of deep faith who touched many lives � our family thanks everyone for all the thoughts, the prayers, the concern for our family.�We also want to make sure we express our concern and our care for the Becker family,� Aaron added, referring to Mark Becker, the man facing first-degree murder charges in Ed Thomas� death.

�People need to pray for (the Beckers) as well.�Without a doubt, we�re going to miss him,� Aaron said.

�I feel very fortunate to be the son of Ed Thomas.� Requesting privacy for the family, he concluded, �we do appreciate your sympathy and your understanding at this time.�Becker, 24, is accused of killing Aplington-Parkersburg football coach Ed Thomas at the school's weight room this morning.Becker is charged with first-degree murder.

He is being held at the Butler County Jail in Allison.Dave Winker of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said Becker was arrested �shortly after the 911 call came in." He declined comment on a possible motive for the shooting.�Motive is another one of those areas that, it�s just to early to speculate on,� Winker said.

�Any discussion of motive would be speculation at this point.�Thomas was shot multiple times at point blank range, including once in the head, according to the school's business manager Pat Gosch.

No one else was injured in the incident.Sports secretary Sue Muller said Thomas was supervising the early-morning weightlifting in Parkersburg when the shooting happened around 7:45 a.m.

About 30 students were present at the time.Click here for the latest photos�The kids are all safe and counselors are meeting with them at the elementary school," High School Principal Dave Meyer said.Thomas, 58, was life-flighted to Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo where he died.The family of Ed Thomas released a statement through Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo."The family of Ed Thomas would like the media to know that Ed passed away shortly after arriving at Covenant Medical Center," the statement read.Kevin Winker, assistant director with the Division of Criminal Investigation, said Becker was taken into custody without incident in rural Parkersburg a short time after the incident.He said a handgun was used in the shooting, but declined to say how many shots were fired.

"I think it would be premature to disclose that information," he said.

Mark Becker Becker was involved in a high-speed chase on Saturday, according to the Cedar Falls Police Department.

He was arrested and apparently taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.The Saturday evening chase that began in Cedar Falls ended at 9:15 p.m.

when Becker�s car � a black 1997 Chevrolet Malibu � hit a deer six miles north of Parkersburg on Highway 14.

The car was going about 90 mph when it hit the deer, the arresting officer, Parkersburg Police Chief Chris Luhring, said in his report.Police said Becker was taken to Covenant Medical Center for treatment early Sunday.

He was released Tuesday and spent the night with his parents in Parkersburg.

Law enforcement officials were unaware of Becker's release, despite requests that they be notified prior to his release.Winker said this afternoon that he�s �not going to get into the purpose� of Becker being taken to the hospital.Becker was arrested on charges of reckless driving and eluding charges in Butler County and also faced two felonies in Cedar Falls, where he was accused of vandalizing a home at 802 N.

Union Rd.

in the northwest part of the city.

Counselors are on the scene for students, including several who witnessed the shooting."We do want to articulate, because I'm sure there are a lot of concerned parents, that no students were hurt or injured in this incident," said Jessica Lown, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Safety.Thomas has coached football for 37 years and has a career record of 292-84.

He has led the Falcons to 19 state playoff appearances and two state titles, in 1993 and 2001.Aplington-Parkersburg Superintendent Jon Thompson said Thomas, who came to Parkersburg in 1975, was a widely beloved icon in the community.A vigil is planned for 7 p.m.

tonight at the football field in Parkersburg.Check back to for more details on this developing story.

Photos from today in ParkersburgVideo from Des Moines RegisterStatement from Rep.

Bruce Braley �I�m shocked and saddened by the senseless death of Coach Ed Thomas.

This is a tremendous loss for the town of Parkersburg and the entire state of Iowa.

His death will leave a deep void in the community he loved and in the countless people he inspired throughout his life.�My thoughts and prayers are with Coach Thomas� family and the people of Parkersburg during this difficult time.� Statement from Sen.

Tom Harkin �I was shocked to hear of the senseless death of Ed Thomas.

In this time of sorrow, my thoughts are with his family and the entire Parkersburg community.� Statement from Iowa State head football coach Paul Rhoads �This is a devastating loss.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Thomas family and countless people who are better individuals because of their relationship with Ed Thomas.�Ed Thomas was one of the first people to call me when I came back to Iowa.

I can�t tell you how much his call meant to me.

He came down to our clinic and called me afterwards to compliment us on how the clinic was run.

As an Iowa coaching legend, he didn�t have to makes those calls.

Ed did it because he was the best of people.�As a young man growing up I first learned of coach Thomas through my father�s high school coaching career.

Everyone knew that this man was far more than a football coach."His leadership set an example for us and his legacy will live on in the thousands of people he has touched in and out of the classroom and on and off the field.� Statement from Richard Wulkow, Executive Director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association "Like all tragedies, the taking of Coach Thomas� life is senseless.

At this time our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Aplington-Parkersburg community and the thousands of lives he so positively impacted.

He embodied the essence of what a coach should be, and that legacy will endure."He will be forever remembered not so much for his many wins on the field, but for the exemplary manner in which he coached kids and led the Aplington-Parkersburg community and school.

This was especially true last spring and summer as they rebuilt from a devastating tornado.

He was overwhelmed with the ensuing gratitude from the efforts of the Iowa coaching community and others during the rebuilding."
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