MANCHESTER, N.H. (WHDH) – A 20-year-old man who was found dead in a park in New Hampshire over the weekend died from a gunshot wound to the back, authorities said.
Officers responding to Derryfield Park in Manchester on Sunday morning found the body of Thamba Mbungu, New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella and Manchester Police Chief Allen D. Aldenberg announced Monday.
Loved ones say he dreamed of playing professional soccer.
“He’s always been so focused on soccer, so passionate, every day he would train,” said his brother Mbambi Mbungu. “He would be training two or three times a day.”
Friends said his dedication to improving his game was coupled with his natural talent for the sport. In 2018, he was named New Hampshire’s Soccer Player of the Year and played for the New England Revolution Academy.
“I always wanted to be next to him,” said his former teammate Silvo Matimano. “Whenever I’m with him on the team, I know I am going to win that game, no matter what. No matter what.”
Mbungu was set to return to his native Congo later this year to try and make his dreams of becoming a professional soccer star a reality.
“He was telling me, ‘I am working so hard,” said cousin Abdullah Juma. “He was supposed to leave in December.”
An autopsy has since determined that Mbungu’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the back and that his manner of death is homicide.
“We have no information whatsoever that there is a threat to the general public as a result of this incident,” said Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley. “It appears to be an isolated incident.
Mbungu’s teammates say they will now run the field in his memory.
“Right now, our goal is to live on for Thamba,” teammate Jacob Chiza said. “He’s down looking at us and saying, ‘You need to carry out my dream.”
Mbungu’s “suspicious” death remains under investigation.
Anyone with information on his death is urged to contact Manchester police detectives at 603-668-8711.
(Copyright (c) 2021 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)