What happened to Lyle Joseph “Bartender” Thomas from Compton?

STREETGANGS.COM | December 31, 2020

The City of Compton lost Lyle “Bartender” Thomas 44 years ago this month, while he was attending a dance at Dootos Music Center on Central Avenue in Compton. Dootos Music Center was established by Walter Williams, known as Dootsie during the early 1960s. Williams had established a record label and produced several hits during the 1950s and started this club with some of his earnings. By 1970, Walter had legal problems and Dootos was taken over by Alonzo Williams, who turned it into a popular Compton nightclub.

High School year book photo of Lyle “Bartender” Thomas.

The area of Dootos was an area where the Westside Pirus were formed, and they were more commonly known as the Piru Street Boys in the early 1970s. Bartender would be in a “safe zone” at Dootos on this evening, so he thought. Just a couple years before he was shot by a rival but bounced back and made a strong recovery. Bartender was light skinned sharp dresser, considered handsome by the ladies.

On December 4, 1976, Bartender was one of several in attendance to enjoy what was described as a dance on the Westside of Compton. Bartender was from the Eastside of Compton. His family had moved to Pearl Avenue near Oaks Park during the early 1960s. This area would later become known as Santana Blocc Crip neighborhood. As a teen he not only spent time at Leuders Park, Piru headquarters, but he spent time at Oaks Park too, a community with a growing Crips presence by the early 1970s. The “red house” on Pine Avenue that youth counselor Bob Simmons put Stanley “Tookie” Williams in charge of was a couple blocks from Bartender’s home.

Bartender's childhood house on Pearl in Compton
Childhood home of Bartender and his family on Pearl

Bartender was with his younger brother Leonard to enjoy the dance. The brothers were extremely close just born 1-year apart. A young teenager emerged, focused on Bartender and shot several rounds in his direction hitting Bartender and a 16-year old nearby by. Bartender was killed and the other kid survived.

There was confusion as to who shot and killed Bartender because the police showed up to the family home to arrest Bartender’s brother for the murder. Just barely in the grieving process from losing a brother and son, the police erroneously believed that his brother was guilty. The father argued with the police and they took the father into custody too. To the Thomas family it was extremely ridiculous to arrest Bartender’s brother, his best friend, for murder. Detective R. Hand released the father and son the next day after the brother passed a polygraph examination.

A 15-year old was eventually arrested for the shooting.

Posted by on Dec 31 2020. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Log in |
  • Prison Gangs
  • Other Cities
  • Los Angeles Police Gang Enforcement Initiaitives – 2007
  • SG Music
  • Crips
  • Bloods
  • Asian Gangs
  • Forums
  • Shop
  • Injunctions
  • contact
  • Resources