The words on the sign were outlined in day-glo markers.
â€œFamily and friends united for the truth,â€ it read.
In spite of dampness and a light mist of rain, about 250 friends and family members turned out Monday evening for a march and candlelight vigil in memory of Guy Thomas, the 46-year-old Ironton man who was dragged by an Ironton police cruiser Saturday night and found dead in the city center parking lot.
Gathering first at the Ninth Street playground, people lit candles, comforted each other and prayed.
In his invocation, the Rev. David Peoples prayed, â€œWe donâ€™t know why things happen the way they happen. We do know we have an advocate and so weâ€™re calling on you now.â€
He prayed for peace for both the community and for the Thomas family.
â€œIronton needs you, God,â€ Peoples prayed. â€œThere is so much trouble and so much turmoil. We need a light to shine.â€
The Rev. Horace Miller, a cousin to Thomas, admonished the crowd to remember the primary purpose for being togetherâ€” Christian unityâ€” and not to let their anger and pain give way to violence.
â€œIâ€™d like everyone to know we are doing this for God,â€ Miller said. â€œThere is no other agenda that will be adhered to at any time. This is to share our love with friends and relatives. No other reason shall we go out and take care of something on our own.â€
â€œLet the police do their job. They have a job to do,â€ he said.
Some of the people who marched up Ninth Street carried signs. One sign simply asked â€œWhy?â€
That question was on the mind of Anthony Edens as he marched with the others. He said he wanted answers about what happened Saturday night when Thomas was drug underneath a patrol car for 10 blocks before being discovered.
â€œI just want to know the truth,â€ he said. â€œI want to know why he hit him.â€
He said he wanted the officer, Patrolman Richard Fouts, to go to prison, calling the incident â€œmurder.â€
Leonard Battise was another friend who came to the event â€œout of respect for the family and out of respect for Guy,â€ he explained. â€œGuy was a good person, would bring a smile to your face, cheer you up.â€
He said the march and vigil were meant to bind a community in pain together at a time when togetherness was most needed.
â€œIâ€™m here to show support for the family and show that people do care,â€ he said. â€œIf something happens, I want them to know weâ€™re here for (them).â€
The march ended at Kingsbury Elementary near where the impact occurred. Some paused to share their thoughts of Thomas.
â€œHeâ€™s home with his mother,â€ Thomasâ€™ nephew, J.D. Thomas, said. â€œHeâ€™s home with his dad. He was a good guy.â€
â€œOne thing Iâ€™ll never forget is his smile,â€ one woman said.
Others were reflective.
Rodney Cameron said such a tragedy reminds us â€œhow precious life is. Nobody knows what tomorrow holds. So we need to take time to tell one another we love each other and more importantly, we need show we love each other.â€
Dallas Thomas was Guy Thomasâ€™ uncle. He came from Russell, Ky., to be with family and friends. He remembered his nephew as having a â€œheart of gold.â€
â€œHe liked his beer, but he never bothered anybody,â€ Dallas Thomas said.