Star basketball player killed at college acceptance party

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Jesse Thomas, 17, was shot and killed Saturday at his college acceptance party, hosted by his cousin in McDonough, Georgia.

Thomas attended prom a few weeks ago and was supposed to graduate from Stockbridge High School on May 26. He would have turned 18 the next day.

Because of his death, the Stockbridge High School basketball team will dedicate next season to number 13.

“We're going to retire his jersey,” coach Rodney Latham said. “He wore number 13. We're going to make sure we take that with us to away games, to home games. We'll save a seat for him.”

Latham, the head boys basketball coach at Stockbridge High School, said that at 6-foot-4 and just under 200 pounds, Thomas could do it all.

“One of my best players,” Latham said. “He would run through a wall for me.”

Thomas was recently accepted at Indian River State College in Florida, where he planned to be a walk-on on the basketball team.

His legacy at Stockbridge will live forever, his coach and teammates said.

Police said Dexter Covington, 19, is a person of interest in Thomas' deathWSB-TV’s Chris Jose was told that he is from Henry County, but could be anywhere.

Anyone who sees Covington is asked to call Detective Steven Rotella at the Henry County Police Department at 770-288-8269.

A vigil for Thomas has been scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Stockbridge High School football field at 7:30 p.m. The community is invited and is asked to wear blue, Thomas’ favorite color.

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