Virginia Community Rallies Around Pastor Whose Son Drowned

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Residents across Loudoun County, Virginia, are mourning the teenage son of a prominent pastor.

Fitz Thomas drowned Thursday evening in the Lansdowne area where Goose Creek flows into the Potomac River.

Fitz Thomas and his friends were crossing Goose Creek before 6 p.m. when he disappeared underwater, investigators said.

His friends called 911 and began searching for him, but it was some time before they were able to pull him from the creek.

The teen’s friends started CPR but, it was 30 minutes before Loudoun County rescue crews arrived because the cellphone call got routed to Montgomery County, Maryland, on the other side of the Potomac River.

Once Loudoun got word, rescuers were there in eight minutes.

A full investigation is underway into the confusion.

The victim’s mother, Pastor Michelle Thomas, heads the Loudon County NAACP and for years has been a leading voice on civil rights issues and African-American history.

“Pastor Michelle does for everybody,” former NAACP President Phil Thompson said. “When my granddaughter died, she brought us back, my wife and I.”

Thompson and others friends saw a Facebook post from her last night.

Thompson said about 100 people went to Inova Loudoun Hospital and learned Fitz Thomas died.

“Before I could call people, they knew,” Thompson said. “Just tells you know tightknit this county is.”

Now that tightknit community is consoling and supporting the Thomas family.

“Pastor Michelle is sort of the glue that keeps a lot of things together,” Thompson said.

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