MORRIS COUNTY — The 40th Anniversary of the unsolved murder of Christopher Thomas, 16, of Boonton Township, was marked Saturday, October 1, by his family, friends the Morris Catholic High School community and Morris County Law Enforcement.
The ceremony took place at the high school, 200 Morris Avenue, Denville. Thomas was a Morris Catholic junior when he was killed in 1982.
Thomas’ brother, Mark, announced an increased reward and asked the public to help solve the shooting death of his brother inside the Rockaway Townsquare Mall on October 1, 1982.
On Friday October 1, 1982, Thomas made plans to go to the Rockaway Townsquare Mall with a 14 year old female acquaintance. The two were dropped off at the mall at 9:16 p.m that night. They walked into the mall entrance, with the intention of going to see a movie at the Inner-Six Theatre and afterwards, purchasing an anniversary present for Christopher’s parents. Within seconds, Christopher was approached by a man. This man then pushed the female acquaintance aside, took out a gun and fired a single shot at Thomas point blank range in the chest. The shooter fled the scene on foot as Christopher stumbled a bit further into the mall and collapsed on the floor.
The Rockaway Township Police Department and other emergency service workers rushed to the scene and transported Christopher to the Dover General Hospital on Route 46 East, Dover. Unfortunately, Christopher was pronounced dead at 9:26 p.m. The case was then ruled a homicide.
There were at least 20 witnesses to this incident, and each one described the offender as a Caucasian male between 18-23 years old, 5’5 to 5’10” in height, and a thin build of about 135-155 pounds. He had dark medium length hair that was parted in the middle, which police suspect might have been a wig. He had a thin, dark colored mustache and some sources state he also had mirrored sunglasses on. He was dressed in blue jeans, a denim jacket and boots. There is a composite sketch posted above. Christopher’s friend said she did not recognize the gunman.
According to his family, Christopher was a promising student and a talented athlete at the time of his murder. He was preparing to be inducted into the National Honor Society and was on the high school’s varsity basketball team and the soccer team.
Police would not comment on whether they believe this was random, a case of mistaken identity, or something else entirely. They have been pursuing all angles, and have still not come up with a motive.
If you have any additional information, please contact the Morris County Cold Case Unit at 973-285-6200. All calls will be kept confidential.