JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Johnston Little League honored the life and legacy of a beloved coach who was killed by his next-door neighbor last week.
Little Leaguers returned to the field Wednesday or the first time since Thomas “TJ” May and his 15-year-old daughter were shot inside their Ligian Court home. May was found dead inside the family’s garage, while his daughter was rushed to the hospital.
Their neighbor, identified as 52-year-old James Harrison, was shot dead by officers hours later following a chase and subsequent standoff on Plainfield Pike. Investigators believe the shooting stemmed from a neighborhood dispute.
The 44-year-old father of two was well known and respected in town. May had been involved with the Johnston Little League for years and served as a coach on his son’s team.
May’s son took the field with his teammates Wednesday night, and a moment of silence was held for his father prior to the first pitch.
“We’re just celebrating TJ’s life and what he meant to our league,” Johnston Little League President Joe Splendorio said. “We’re trying to think happy thoughts … we were crying all week, and we’re kind of at the point where we just need to be happy that we came across such an individual like him.”
“I’m starting to smile a little more now talking about him,” he continued. “I didn’t think I was going to get there.”
May’s nickname was “captain positive,” according to Splendorio.
“When something was going wrong, he would always find that bright spot … even when it was tough to see that bright spot,” he said. “We’re trying to find that bright spot that we know he’d be telling us to find.”
The Johnston Little League created a GoFundMe page to support the May family and ease their financial burden. So far, it’s raised more than $60,000.
May’s funeral will take place Thursday morning at St. Mary’s Church.