A Christmas Eve argument over a parking space led to the fatal stabbing of a 42-year-old Omaha man, according to his girlfriend.
Milton W. Thomas II died Monday at a hospital after being taken there from his apartment at 4316 N. 56th St.
Omaha police said Wednesday that they had arrested the man who stabbed him. Victor K. Gray, 53, was booked on suspicion of second-degree murder and use of a weapon to commit a felony. Gray, who was in the Douglas County Jail, was arrested by the Metro Area Fugitive Task Force.
Ashley Andersen, who lived with Thomas, said the man who stabbed her boyfriend had an apartment in the same building.
Andersen, 24, said Thomas had been loading Christmas presents for his children into a car. Someone later began banging on their basement apartment window, so the couple went outside.
Another tenant, she said, began yelling that the car Thomas was loading with gifts was in his parking space.
“Milton actually kept his cool real well,” Andersen said. “He said, 'It's Christmas Eve, and I don't want to argue with you. If you can wait 10 minutes, then I can move the car for you.'”
Andersen said the argument continued until she saw the man stab Thomas once in the chest. Thomas fell to the ground, and she ran inside to call 911. After making the call, she dragged Thomas inside the building.
By then, the assailant had fled, and neighbors came out of their apartments to see what was happening. One of the neighbors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he found Thomas curled up in Andersen's arms in front of their apartment door.
“The last thing he told me was to tell his children that he loved them,” Andersen said. “He was all about his kids and me. If we needed something, he would find a way to get it.”
Gray pleaded guilty in Douglas County Court to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, in 2007. He appears to have been charged with a felony in connection with a 2006 assault, but the disposition of that case was not clear, according to court records.
Andersen said Thomas is survived by four children, including two, ages 14 and 5, who live with his estranged wife. Thomas' 18-year-old son also lives in Omaha, and a 25-year-old daughter lives in Chicago.
Thomas also is survived by a sister in Chicago and his father, who lives in North Carolina.
Andersen said she and Thomas were both working part time for Omaha Steaks during the holidays. He had just been offered a full-time position with the company starting in January, she said.
“We met when we were both working for the VA hospital two years ago,” Andersen said. “He was the strongest person — mentally and spiritually — that I've ever known. He had the biggest heart.”
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