Patrice Thimes killed by stray bullet

6:06 PM, Mar 18, 2011   |    comments
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St. Louis (KSDK) - A woman driving home after dinner is caught in a gun battle. Her family, friends and police want to know who's responsible for taking her life. The victim is the sister of famous jazz singer Denise Thimes.

The family wants answers and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department have stepped up investigations, activating its Violent Offense Team in response to this shooting and rash of homicides in the last two weeks they believe are connected.

Last night was the last life to be taken in what police call an ongoing dispute between suspects.

NewsChannel 5 went to 39-year-old Patrice Thimes' home where there was a strong sense of love, warmth, and now tears among family members. Patrice Thimes shared her life with Greg Bell, and their two daughters. She also cared deeply for six siblings, including her sister, famed jazz singer Denise Thimes.

"A lot of times I would have extensive trips out of the country and she was like the second mother to my children," said Denise.

Patrice was violently taken from them, while on the phone with Denise's older sister.

"She called and said I heard some shots and I can't get Patty on the phone anymore. At that point we all start walking, driving, getting there whichever way we could."

And when they got there, this is what they saw. Police said Patrice Thimes was shot in the head while driving on Page near Euclid late Thursday night, caught in a shootout between people on the street and a person or persons driving in another vehicle.

Patrice was fatally shot right after taking Denise's children out to dinner. She had just dropped them off and was heading home alone.

"We have to take a stand as citizens to minimize the violence in our neighborhoods," said Denise.

Stopping the violence did not happen in time for Patrice to celebrate her 40th birthday this Sunday.

"And she had some big plans. We were supposed to go to J Bucks tomorrow night," said Denise.

Family members say Patrice had many big plans. After working for several years in customer service at the airport Marriott, she recently left with plans to open a restaurant in North City.

"We were going to open a barbeque restaurant together. And we're still going to do it," said boyfriend Greg Bell.

St. Louis police said they're trying to get enough evidence to arrest suspects in this and other homicides that have happened in the last two weeks.


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