Cocoa homicide victim’s mother says witnesses are too afraid of ‘street justice’ to come forward

Mother begs for answers in son’s death

COCOA, Fla. – Another year has gone by since her son’s death and Anita Gibson still doesn’t know who shot him.

The Cocoa Police Department said Gibson’s son, 36-year-old Jonte Thomas, was with two friends driving on Fiske Boulevard after a Cocoa High School football championship game on Dec. 9, 2016 when someone in another car shot at them.

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Thomas spent months in the hospital before he died on May 1, 2017.

Thursday would have been Thomas’ birthday and to mark the occasion, Gibson once again implored members of the community to cooperate with authorities if they know what happened to her son.

“People won’t come forward to tell what happened with Jonte because they are afraid of street justice, but as soon as it happens to your family you want the world to come to your aid,” Gibson said in a news release. “We can’t be afraid to come out and say this is not right. There’s no reform, no power structure, no legislature that will end gun violence, but we as a community and as a family can all reach one. I’m going to do my best to help somebody not be the next victim or the next family of gun violence.”

Police said they in December 2019, three years after the shooting, that they believed the culprit or culprits was in a white Nissan Altima or Maxima or a similar car.

“We have collected physical evidence and interviewed multiple witnesses in this investigation, but we still have a lot of unanswered questions,” detective Anthony Colombo said at the time. “We are hoping witnesses come forward with new information, regardless if they think it might be irrelevant, it could be the missing link we are looking for.”

Anyone with information that can help solve the case is asked to call the Central Florida Crimeline at 800-423-8477. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $5,000.