Alameda Family Mourns Son Fatally Stabbed 

Alameda Family Mourns Son Fatally Stabbed 
Posted by FoM on September 04, 1999 at 10:11:45 PT
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 
Thomas Jones Hoaglin was a 16- year-old Alameda boy who dreamed of becoming a police officer or a Marine. But the path to his future had been bumpy, with struggles in school and some minor scrapes with the law. 
The youngest of eight children, Thomas, who was also known as T.J., was barraged every day with a litany of admonitions from his father: go to school, don't get in trouble, stay off the street, be home by a certain time. Now, Ernest Hoaglin, 64, will not have the chance to sound another warning to his son. Thomas was stabbed to death by a 16-year-old acquaintance during an argument over a marijuana sale worth $4 in North Oakland on August 26, police say. The suspect was charged with murder yesterday, a day after he made a surprise confession to police. Ernest Hoaglin, his wife, Dorothy, 49, and their children have been trying to cope with the loss of a happy-go-lucky teenager and Island High School student who liked basketball and rap music. Thomas died 13 days after he turned 16. Hoaglin said he also had been struggling with the revelation that Thomas apparently had been selling marijuana. The suspect owed Thomas $4 for a small amount of marijuana. ``I always looked into his eyes and checked on him for drugs or if he was drinking,'' Hoaglin said. ``I never found any evidence of drugs or alcohol.'' Shelly Hoaglin, 24, expressed anger that her brother, who had a ``big heart and wouldn't even hurt a fly,'' died so senselessly. ``I think my brother's life being taken for four dollars is really dumb,'' she said. ``My brother won't come back. He's gone forever. It really makes me mad.'' Thomas, who is American Indian, was buried at the Round Valley Indian Reservation in Mendocino County on Thursday. The boy's family acknowledged Thomas' difficulties in school and run-ins with police, ranging from curfew violations to vandalism. ``I never had any problems with him,'' said Ernest Hoaglin, a retired San Francisco warehouse longshoreman. ``The minor things that he did, kids are going to get in trouble. He had a hard time in school, but he was getting better.'' Thomas and his family went to counseling to try to work through his problems. His educational problems stemmed, in part, because ``he talked too much, he wouldn't listen,'' his father said. Ernest Hoaglin said that although he wished he could have talked to Thomas one last time, it would not help to think about that now. ``You can't say, `I should have done this, I should have done that,' '' Hoaglin said. ``It's no good now. It's 20-20 hindsight.'' Family members said they take some solace knowing that the suspect in Thomas' slaying turned himself in. About 2:30 a.m. Thursday, the 16-year-old Alameda boy, accompanied by his aunt and grandmother, walked up to the patrol desk at Oakland police headquarters and said he was a witness to the stabbing in the 400 block of 40th Street. Oakland homicide Sgts. Joe Olivas and Lou Cruz were summoned. They expected a routine interview. ``He starts talking about it, as an eyewitness, and then he talks himself right into implication, that he is the suspect,'' Olivas said. ``We took a break, to gather ourselves.'' Olivas said the suspect, somberly but matter-of-factly, described his involvement in the slaying. Police said the youth apparently had enough money in his pocket to pay the $4 debt. Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff WriterSaturday, September 4, 1999 1999 San Francisco Chronicle  Page A23 
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