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Published: Wednesday, 7/16/2008

Brain-tumor survivor is slain riding bike to work; 46-year-old is Toledo's 10th homicide in 2008

BY LAREN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Roland Gladieux was awakened yesterday morning by two men arguing outside his house in South Toledo.

Still groggy, Mr. Gladieux peered out his bedroom window about 5:40 a.m. and saw one man hovering over a man on a bicycle, threatening to shoot him.

Seconds later, there was a gunshot and the victim fell backward.

I saw him pull the trigger, Mr. Gladieux said. I seen the gun flash.

The victim, David Babcock, 46, of 908 Kingston Ave., who was riding his bike to work to save money on gas, was shot once in the corner of his mouth in the 800 block of Western Avenue, near Langdon Street.

It was the first time he had set out on what was to be an eight-mile ride to work.

He was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

Babcock Babcock
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Mr. Babcock is Toledo s 10th homicide victim this year. There were 13 homicides in the city last year.

No arrests have been made in yesterday s fatal shooting.

An autopsy showed the bullet that struck Mr. Babcock s face caused massive bleeding and interfered with his breathing, Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner, said.

Thirteen years ago, Mr. Babcock was diagnosed with a brain tumor and, despite the odds, fully recovered from the surgery to remove it.

Doctors didn t think he d walk and talk again, let alone live this long, his fiancee, Rene Long, said.

Toledo police Capt. Ray Carroll said authorities are unsure why the two men were arguing, but according to witnesses, it was a heated exchange.

It was enough to wake people up at that hour, the captain said.

Authorities also are unsure of a motive in the shooting.

A longtime employee of Fresh Products Inc., 4010 South Ave., Mr. Babcock has had little contact with Toledo police other than a misdemeanor conviction in 1982 for illegally discharging a firearm and two traffic citations, according to Toledo Municipal Court records.

Ms. Long, surrounded by her family, struggled yesterday to understand why someone would shoot her fiance.

She said he was a giving man who would do anything for anybody. He never causes trouble. He keeps to himself, she said on the porch of the East Toledo house the couple shared. He didn t deserve this.

Ms. Long said Mr. Babcock wanted to make sure nothing would happen to him during his rides to work, so he put lights on his bike and wore a reflective vest.

He left his house early yesterday to ensure he would make it to work on time for his 7 a.m. shift, Ms. Long said.

She said he has worked at Fresh Products, a Toledo distributor of air fresheners, odor absorbents, and other accessories, for 26 years, most recently in the maintenance department.

The couple met 27 years ago and dated for several years, but Ms. Long said they both married different people and were later divorced.

Mr. Babcock has a son from his previous relationship, a stepdaughter, and two grandchildren.

About four years ago, Ms. Long called Mr. Babcock out of the blue.

At first, Ms. Long said Mr. Babcock didn t recognize her voice, but later said he was happy that she called. They began dating shortly afterward.

She said the two of them weren t concerned about getting married quickly and hadn t set a date.

Ms. Long and Mr. Babcock spent many of their weekends in the summer watching drag racing in Milan, Mich.

Ms. Long said her fiance gave her a kiss every morning before he left for work and yesterday was no different.

Contact Laren Weber at: lweber@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.



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