GAFFNEY, SC (WSPA) – Relatives are sharing memories of an Upstate father who died after deputies say he was stabbed by his wife.
People gathered in Gaffney for a candlelight vigil remembering Brandon Thomas.
“[I remember] How we used to laugh and joke around,” recalled his daughter Kamara Evans, 17. “We were going to prom this year.”
She stood among the group, while holding on to a framing of her dad’s hand print.
“The lady at the hospital – she wanted us to remember Daddy,” Evans said. “We painted his hand and we put it on there.”
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were called to a hospital in Spartanburg for a stabbing victim on October 20.
“Spartanburg (County) Sheriff’s Office was out at the hospital as a result of being called by the hospital staff. They determined the incident happened in Cherokee so our officers responded to a hospital,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller.
Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said Thomas was stabbed in the upper left chest. Fowler said Thomas was taken by private vehicle to Mary Black Health System-Spartanburg and later transferred by ambulance to Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.
Sheriff Mueller said Ashley Thomas, Brandon’s wife, remained at the hospital after the incident at the couple’s home on Overbrook Drive.
“This was a couple that lived in the home together and there was some type of argument and then ultimately he was stabbed. She drove him to the hospital,” Mueller said.
Thomas has been charged with attempted murder.
She remains in the Cherokee County Detention Center without bond.
Fowler said Thomas was released from the hospital a week later, but had difficulty breathing the day after being discharged so he was taken by ambulance to Mary Black Health System-Gaffney and later Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.
The coroner said Thomas was pronounced brain dead Monday afternoon, and placed on life support. On Thursday, the coroner announced Thomas died.
“I ordered an autopsy be performed Thursday to assist in my investigation into Mr. Thomas’ death,” Fowler said. “The results of the autopsy are pending a review of pathological slides, the decedent’s medical records and histology.”
Sheriff Mueller said his wife’s charges have not been upgraded to murder as they await those details from the coroner.
“We have to be able to prove that he died as a result of his injuries from the stabbing or complications from it. At this stage, it would be inappropriate for us to seek that warrant [murder] until we know exactly the reason that he passed,” said Mueller. “We have to move very slowly and cautiously and deliberately through this process to make sure that we do things right so when this case goes it Court it can be prosecuted to the full extent of law.”
Sheriff Mueller added there were not reports of ongoing issues at the couple’s home.
“It’s domestic violence – no matter how you say it, what the history is whether it’s the first instance or there’s been a hundred instances,” said Mueller. “This is another classic case in South Carolina where a person loses their life as a result of domestic violence. It’s not always male on female. In this case it’s female on male.”
Loved ones prayed, sang, and lit candles in Brandon’s honor on Thursday evening.
“It hurt my heart,” said Andre Gregory of Black Lives Matter in Gaffney, which hosted the vigil alongside Put Down The Guns Now Young People organization. “He always looked at me as a little brother and he always had positive words to say to me. He was always smiling. It was a sad situation. Nobody wins in this situation,”
Delores Shippy spoke about how her son grew up with Brandon.
“I’m hurting. This my family and I love them,” said Shippy as she fought back tears.
Gregory said he hope’s there is justice.
“My dad’s only wish for us was to be successful and to be happy with everything that we did so I’m gonna do just that,” Kamara said.
The coroner expects a conclusive determination on the cause and manner of death within days.