Well-known businessman killed at work remembered by many in River Region

Published: Aug. 6, 2016 at 2:57 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2016 at 3:48 AM CDT
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Tommy Shaw (Source: River Region Trump Supporters)
Tommy Shaw (Source: River Region Trump Supporters)
Ron Creel says his best friend left a mark on his community. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Ron Creel says his best friend left a mark on his community. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
Corwin Walker has been charged with murder (Source: Montgomery County Jail)
Corwin Walker has been charged with murder (Source: Montgomery County Jail)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - He was known in many circles in the River Region, and now family and friends are preparing to lay Thomas Shaw Jr. to rest.

The local businessman, and active Republican, lost his life in a robbery at his Montgomery office this week, and many have stepped forward to pay tribute to him.

Friends like Perry Hooper Jr. are holding tight to the good times shared with Shaw, a well-known and well-liked entrepreneur.

“We'd just laugh and cut up and just had so much fun together,” Hooper said. “We're going to miss Tommy. We love him. He'd do anything for anybody."

They started the "Stumping for Trump" bus tour, with Shaw at the wheel.

"He's been involved in Republican politics for a number of years, working with Fob James to Herman Cain, driving these candidates in his motorcoach all over the state of Alabama. He spent so much time working with us, the Trump campaign in Alabama. We started this movement, the Stumping for Trump bus tours and Tommy drove his motorcoach all over, from the Wiregrass to Auburn. We'd pull up with music playing and t-shirts and Tommy loved it," Hooper said.

The 75-year-old Wetumpka resident owned and operated Shaw Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning for more than 30 years. He was one of the biggest contractors in Montgomery, with 20 employees.

Several years ago, Shaw retired and went into real estate. He bought and managed about 20 commercial and residential properties in the Montgomery area.

It was at his office on Highland Avenue where tragedy struck this week. On August 1st, Shaw was fatally stabbed by a man loved ones say set him up to rob him, knowing Shaw was collecting rent money since it was the first of the month.

Those close to Shaw say he was attacked at night in his car after getting rent payments throughout the day. His attacker then reportedly dragged Shaw's body away from his vehicle searching unsuccessfully for a place to hide it.

A tenant found Shaw dead the next morning and called police.

MPD's initial investigation indicated the stabbing stemmed from a robbery attempt, officials confirmed in a press release.

Corwin Walker, 21, of Montgomery, is charged with "Capital Murder of a Person in a Vehicle from Outside the Vehicle." He is being held without bond in the Montgomery County Detention Facility.

"It's upset so many people. There are just so many people that Tommy touched from all walks of life and I'm still stunned," Hooper said. "He could talk to anybody. Everyone loved Tommy. He just made people happy. We're going to miss that vibrant spirit."

Ron Creel was Tommy Shaw's best friend and they spoke every day on the phone, except on the day he was killed. Creel will be giving a eulogy at Shaw's funeral on Sunday.

"He was a very generous person. I know many stories about how he helped people. He was an awesome, kind person and even with his renters, all of them loved tommy because he got along with everybody," Creel said. "I want everybody to know about the Tommy I knew. He was a special person who was friends to everybody and would help anyone who needed help."

Creel says Shaw was very patriotic and always very engaged in politics

"He wanted to get the best people on office who would do the best job for the people of this state," Creel added. "Donald Trump doesn't know this, but he was Tommy's mentor. And then when he decided to run for president, Tommy just lit up like a Christmas tree."

Shaw was a founding member of the River Region Republican Club and one of the original members of the River Region Trump Supporters.

"He generously gave of his time and resources to volunteer for Republican candidates and causes, most recently as an integral member of the Trump Campaign in Alabama. Tommy was always ready to donate and drive his personal bus throughout Alabama and the southeastern states. It is rare to find such a committed and giving person. He will be greatly missed," said Pat Wilson, chairwoman of  the Montgomery County Republican Executive Committee.

Funeral services for Tommy Shaw will be Sunday at Evangel Church on Vaughn Road. Visitation is at 3 p.m. followed by a service at 4 p.m.

"They wiped out a good man. And his family is beside themselves. It's really a tragedy," Creel said. "I'm going to miss those phone calls every night and us just talking and having fun. That was our relaxation at night after a busy day. We'd look forward to getting on that phone."

"May his memory forever live in our hearts as we honor Tommy by striving for what is good," added Dan Martin, a friend.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.