Funeral held for bouncer allegedly slain by angry customer

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Family and friends of a slain former Arizona State University football player gathered in Phoenix to remember his life at a funeral Sunday.

Police said Tyrice Thompson was working as a bouncer at Martini Ranch in Scottsdale when a customer he kicked out of the bar stabbed him during a fight in the parking lot on Jan. 27.

“It's hard to explain," said Nancy Taylor, Tyrice Thompson’s mother, before his funeral. "I just have no words. I'm just overwhelmed right now. My son was just such a good person.”

During the ceremony Taylor stood at the front of the sanctuary at Pilgrim Rest Baptist church, singing over her son’s casket.

“[He was] always willing to help; just great with children," Taylor said. "He had a 1-year-old son and that part is really hard to take right now."

Thompson played football at ASU during his college days, flying around the field as a wide receiver. Many who played with No. 81 came to pay their last respects.
“He had a lot of people who loved him," Taylor said. "There are football players that he played with at ASU, some of them that moved onto pro, that came here just to share in the service today and we're really proud of that."

Thompson’s sister said that his death still didn’t feel real, even as black-clad mourners poured into the large church on East Jefferson Street.

“I know once I step foot in that church it's just going to be devastating to see him there like that because he was my best friend," Torrie Thompson said. "He was more than my brother."

Ian MacDonald, 26, is now charged with killing Thompson. Police said Thompson was working security at Martini Ranch when he kicked MacDonald and his 22-year-old girlfriend, Samantha King, out of the bar. A fight broke out in the parking lot and Thompson ended up stabbed five times in the torso.

“The first couple of days were pretty hard," said Taylor, talking about the days leading up to the death of her son. "The hard part was listening to the doctors tell me that he was left in a vegetative state and we were going to have to make the decision whether to keep him on life support.”

MacDonald faces charges for second-degree murder.  According to prosecutors, MacDonald told friends that he had stabbed Thompson and asked for help ditching the knife. Police think it's somewhere in Mesa but have yet to find the murder weapon.

MacDonald’s lawyer maintains that his client is innocent.