As the city awoke and people in the Third Ward walked their children to school, they couldn't help but stop and stare at an uncommon sight at Emancipation Park.
"The lady said he was bleeding a whole lot," said one resident.
"This is where all the kids come. They got a lot of things going on right there," neighbor Lola Cooper told Eyewitness News. "You know what's going to happen now is the parents aren't going to want to send their kids anymore."
Police are investigating a murder that they believe happened in a parking lot, or not far away.
HPD Homicide Investigator Bart Nabors explained, "At this point it looks like it may have happened here and that he may have stumbled a few feet away and collapsed."
Cooper lives nearby and she believes someone knows what happened.
"There's always somebody out there sleeping, people all over the benches," she said. "So I'm just really surprised. They may have been over there all together when it happened, then everybody started scattering when this happened. But there's always somebody in this park."
But according to police, there are no witnesses and a search didn't turn up any weapons, but officers believe he was stabbed.
"The gentleman had a large amount of blood around his torso area," Neighbors said.
None of that matters to the area residents who hoped the victim would be no one they know, but expected just the opposite.
One woman said, "It could've been my son. My son comes over here all the time and plays basketball. It could've been my son. It could've been anybody's child. Whoever it is, whatever he did, and wherever he come from, he does not deserve to be left in that street dead like that."
The medical examiner is performing an autopsy to determine Thomas' official cause of death.
No one has been arrested for this murder, so police are asking anyone who has any information to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.