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McDonald's holds fundraiser for employee shot at Raleigh party

Posted August 18

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— The former employer of a man gunned down in a Raleigh neighborhood two weeks ago is taking steps to ease the financial burden faced by his grieving family in the wake of the death.

Kouren Thomas should be working at the McDonald’s on Falls of Neuse Road, but instead, his picture graces the front of the restaurant.

“They’re family. It’s important to me and McDonald’s to give back when we can,” said owner Andy Martin.

Thomas’ coworkers are still struggling with his death and decided a fundraiser for his family would be the best way to honor him. Half of all proceeds from the restaurant between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday, as well as all donations, will go to Thomas’ family.

“Every time I’d come into the restaurant, I make a point to say ‘hi’ to everybody. He was always bubbly, friendly and smiling. Everybody says it’s really tough to have a bad day if you were working with him,” Martin said.

Hours after leaving work on Aug. 7, Thomas was shot and killed while leaving a house party in a north Raleigh neighborhood. Chad Copley, 39, is charged with his murder.

In a 911 call, Copley told a dispatcher there were “hoodlums” outside his home and he was “locked and loaded and ready to secure the neighborhood.”

In a later call, Copley said he shot somebody.

Martin said Thomas had asked one of the managers at the McDonald’s to go to the party with him that night, but the coworker couldn’t make it.

“It hit close to home with everybody because he’d just worked; they’d just seen him,” Martin said.

Thomas’ funeral will be held Saturday at the Imago Dei Church at 7041 Wake Forest Road at 12:30 p.m. Members of the public are invited to attend.

“On behalf of Kouren Thomas’ family, we would like to thank all of those who donated to the GoFundMe account established to assist with funeral costs,” said Thomas family attorney Justin Bamberg. “We’d also like to thank everyone in the community, and from around the country, who has reached out to offer their condolences and well-wishes.”

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