Metro Detroit soldier killed in Syria remembered fondly by family, friends at vigil

'I will always look at him as my hero,' Martinez said

DETROIT – Friends and family gathered Tuesday night in Detroit to honor U.S. Army Private Michael Thomason who was killed over the weekend while he was stationed in Syria.

The circumstances into how Thomason died are unclear, but his family and friends shared fond memories as a crowd paused to honor the fallen soldier.

"He was outgoing, really cheerful, he would brighten up a room," his sister, Amber Martinez, said.

When he wore the uniform he was known as Private First Class Michael Thomason, but to Amber he was her brother.

The family received the news of his death this week. Information is limited but they do know he didn't die in combat.

"We have to wait because they're doing a thorough investigation so we can't get answers, but I just need answers, I want to know why it happened," Martinez said.

Family said Thomason always dreamed of joining the military and enlisted in 2017.

"I told him I didn't think it was a good idea but he's my brother so I had to support him," Martinez said.

His sister spoke with him days before his death. 

"I will always look at him as my hero, he died fighting for what he truly believed was worth fighting for," Martinez said.

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