With no one to receive the $10,000 reward Rudy A. Ciccotti had promised to give anyone with information that would lead to the arrest of the shooter involved in Kathina Thomas' death, Ciccotti decided to find a use for the funds.
Ten-year-old Thomas was killed in late May when a stray bullet struck her in the back as she played on a First Street doorstep in Albany. Days after the young girl was killed, Ciccotti made an oath to give $10,000 as a reward to anyone who could lead the Albany Police Department to the shooter.
Less than a month later, the alleged shooter, Jermaine Timmons, was apprehended by Albany police. But, according to Ciccotti, police made the arrest based on their own information so the reward money was not needed.
On Tuesday, July 1, Ciccotti found a new use for the money when he handed a check for $5,000 to Thomas' mother, Shondell McAllister.
I had access to the reward money, and what I wanted to do was to do something for Kathina's mom, said Ciccotti.
He said that the donation was made in the name of the Ciccotti Center in Colonie, but according to Barbara Boodram, the donation is not affiliated with the Center, but rather "just a nice gesture from Rudy."
McAllister declined to comment on the gift, saying, "I am not going to go public for your newspaper about my family."
A man who has never had children of his own, Ciccotti said he had been following Thomas' story because he sympathizes with the grief the child's family is going through. He even rushed to Thomas' wake when he saw the announcement on the television.
"When I saw that young lady lying out in her casket -- it was so sad. She was so beautiful, in a little dress, a little doll in each arm. That's what it's all about," he said.