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Friends, co-workers remember slain manager

March 29, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A search is on for a gunman who shot a woman at a bank ATM Sunday night.

Tuesday, friends are mourning the loss of 23-year-old Carrie Thomas, while investigators are asking for help finding the suspect. Riverside investigators are piecing together what happened.

At the Central Homicide Unit in Riverside, detectives continue to examine a grainy, blurred picture of the suspect in the murder taken from surveillance video.

A memorial sits outside the Shakey's Pizza restaurant where the victim worked. Outside the front door, there are flowers, candles and notes from her former co-workers.

Carrie Thomas, 23, was one of the managers of the restaurant. News of her death has not only hit store employees hard, but also-many of the customers who've come here for years.

"She loved the restaurant business, she loved people and the customers. The customers are coming in. It's tough," said store owner Harold Veum.

Veum says he spoke with Thomas by phone the night she was killed. They were supposed to meet up the next morning so he could help her find a new place to live.

"I was just helping her get an apartment. She was supposed to get the keys the next morning. I mean, it just gets worse, her dying is bad enough but she was just starting her life, she's just a little girl you know, 23 years old. It's tough," said Veum.

Thomas was killed in her car at the Visterra Credit Union on Cactus and Graham in Moreno Valley.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department says it looks like the motive was robbery.

Surveillance video from the ATM shows the suspect at the lower left-hand corner.

"They will catch this guy, they have a picture of him, and they will catch this guy and, you know, whatever they do to him is not good enough for me, it's just not good enough for me. He just took away a very special person," said Veum.

If you recognize the man in the picture, you're asked to call Moreno Valley Police at (951) 486-6700.

A memorial fund was set up for Thomas.

Donations can be dropped off or mailed to:
Visterra Credit Union
PO Box 9500
Moreno Valley, CA 92552-9550
Attention: C. Thomas Memorial Fund
or send check by phone to (951) 656-4411