By Christina Santucci
Relatives of a doting South Jamaica dad slain Saturday in an early morning shooting planned to mourn him Father’s Day evening with a candlelit vigil at the Springfield Gardens lounge where he died.
Loved ones were expected to gather at Edge Bar and Lounge, at 125-22 Merrick Blvd., around 7 or 7:30 p.m. Sunday to light candles and release balloons in memory of 35-year-old Timothy Tripp, his heartbroken fiancée, Vanessa McKinley, said.
“He was very big on Father’s Day because he was a father, not only one day but he was a father every day,” she said of Tripp and his 11-year-old daughter, Tameia.
Authorities said they responded to the shooting just after 2:30 a.m. Saturday, and Tripp, who had been shot in the head and torso, was pronounced dead at the scene.
“He just went out to have a drink,” McKinley, 41, said, explaining that Tripp had headed out around 11:30 p.m. and asked her to set aside his dinner for when he got home.
“He said, ‘Babe, I’ll be back. I’m going to come back and eat my food.’ And he never came back,” she said.
Early Saturday McKinley said she received a call informing her that there had been an altercation in the nightclub and her fiancé had been wounded. When she went over to the lounge, Tripp’s body was inside as police performed their investigation.
The NYPD said they had not made any arrests yet in the shooting, but McKinley was hopeful that Tripp’s killer would be caught.
“They took away my friend, my heart, my partner,” she said breaking down into tears.
Tripp had opened The Men’s Room, a clothing shop on Baisley Boulevard, with McKinley about three years ago and also worked as a foreman with ironworkers through Local 46. He also volunteered as a football coach at Jamaica High School and with the Jamaica Bulldogs youth football league, loved ones said.
Tripp’s father, Thomas Tripp, described his son as a good guy and a family man.
“I cant understand what happened. I cant understand why someone killed my son,” Thomas Tripp said.
And McKinley said her fiancé acted as a parent to both his daughter and her 21-year-old son.
“He was a great father. He loved his daughter to death,” McKinley said.
On Saturday afternoon, Tripp had planned to attend his daughter Tameia’s annual dance recital, and she only found out afterward that her father had been killed.
“She went to her recital. She had a great performance. She didn’t know anything, but she got a little sad because she didn’t hear his voice cheering,” McKinley said. “She didn’t find out until later on that evening that her father was not coming back because he was shot.”
Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at [email protected] by phone at 718-260-4589.