Nine years after a man was shot and killed two days before Christmas at the Edison Mall in Fort Myers, investigators are still looking for answers.
The killer – or killers – who gunned down 25-year-old Thomas Goodman are still out there. Investigators say Goodman was shot from a gray car outside the entrance to Macy’s and JCPenney. The shooter or shooters fired 50 to 60 rounds in a parking lot full of holiday shoppers.
“Witnesses that were there that evening described it as complete chaos. They didn’t know what was going on,” said Trish Routte, coordinator of Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.
She vividly remembers Goodman’s killing.
“It was the busiest shopping night of the year, the mall was packed at that point. It was right around closing time, right around 9 o’clock. Thomas Goodman had been inside the mall. There were people watching him, and inside the mall, his comings and goings. And when he went to leave at night, there were individuals waiting for him in the parking lot,” she said.
Two days before Christmas, a day when families get their last-minute holiday shopping done, bullets were sprayed across the parking lot.
Witnesses told detectives – and WINK News – it was like a horror movie.
“Sounded like it was getting closer, so right then and there it was like everyone started to scatter. It was almost like a stampede was coming, pushing everyone out of the way, getting out of the way,” one witness said.
“And then you see cops running around with their guns … I just wanted to leave and go home.”
Is Routte confident the person or persons responsible will be caught?
“Right after the violent crimes happen, whether it’s Club Blu or the shooting at the Edison Mall, people sometimes don’t want to talk right away because they’re scared, freaked out about what just happened,” she said.
The Club Blu case has been solved, with six arrests made earlier this month. Routte said she’s hopeful this one will be, too.
“Make the people who actually pulled the trigger and actually took Mr. Goodman’s life that night, make them finally be held accountable. Nine years is far too long.”
Anyone with information on the Edison Mall shooting should call the Fort Myers Police Department at 239-321-7700 or Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS. There is a $3,000 reward in the case. Tips can also be submitted online at southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com and tipsters can remain anonymous.