Former Trainer Talks About Man Who Shot Child And Woman


UPDATED: Saturday November 23, 2013 12:04 AM

The news of Danny Thornton's shooting spree spread to the boxing gym where he used to train.

"Nice guy. Always smiled. I never seen him not smile. Even in his fights, I always told him he was too nice," said boxing instructor Vonzell Johnson.

Thornton hit the bags and sparred inside the ropes here. The Lula Pearl Rec Center boxing gym use to be his place.

"He fought pro, you know, he had some pro fights here," said Johnson. "when he was here, he was a happy guy. He loved boxing. He worked hard."

Johnson trained Thornton. He said Thornton was a good boxer and a good guy.

"Different guy than what we know about today," said Johnson.

That's because Thornton shot Jaiden Fitzpatrick at his home. The boy is the brother of one of Thornton's sons. That son and Jaiden's mother were in the home at the time of the shooting.

"Worst day of my life," said Jarid Fitzpatrick. "He answered the door and there was a loud bang and the next thing I know I hear my mom screaming."

Jaiden's mom posted messages on Facebook about Jaiden. She said he wasn't going to make it.  

Thornton drove off from the house to a dentist's office where another ex-girlfriend, Vicki Vertin, worked. According to a police report he said, "Haven't seen you in awhile" and shot her. Vertin is expected to survive her injuries.

"Once or twice he was telling me he was having problems with his two childrens' mother," said Johnson. "Then, he just started drifting away."

Those personal conversations were rare and Johnson never saw any of this coming.

"It was heartbreaking," said Johnson.

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