Anthony Belton, the man charged with killing a BP convenience-store clerk during a robbery Tuesday, was "a good kid" who yearned for love and a better relationship with his father, a family spokesman said yesterday.
"He was a good kid; he just got caught with the wrong people," his uncle, George Everett, said, adding that he'd never met a second suspect arrested yesterday. "The media's got him like a wild animal, and he's not like that."
Police yesterday arrested Mr. Belton, 22, of 934 Cuthbert Rd., and Dymon Bolton, 18, of 623 Ranch Drive. A third suspect remained at large last night.
Mr. Bolton, the man suspected of driving the getaway car and described by police as a known gang member, has his mother's name tattooed on his right arm and no juvenile or adult criminal record. He was a senior at Rogers High School last year, but did not graduate, said Patty Mazur, a Toledo Public Schools spokesman.
When Mr. Bolton was 10 years old, his mother made him attend a four-week summer-school session at Keyser Elementary School, spoiling his summertime preference for bike-riding with his friend, Chad.
"I was mad at first," he told The Blade in 2000, adding he later decided "it's good for me."
Mr. Belton, the suspected gunman, spent several childhood years with his father in southern California, but their relationship dissolved recently, his uncle said.
"He was just looking for love," Mr. Everett said.
"Like on his birthday or something, he'd be waiting for his dad to call."
Mr. Belton enjoyed reading and hip-hop music, but never graduated from high school. He was just a couple of credits shy of graduating from Glass City Academy, a charter school for dropout and at-risk teens, his uncle said.
Last year, he shared a home with his uncle, aunt, and several cousins.
His mother, who lives in the Toledo area and suffers heart problems, is in shock, Mr. Everett said.
"If you needed some money that bad, or whatever, that bad, you know, you could have come and asked me or your aunt," Mr. Everett said, fighting back tears. "Were you hungry? Were you broke, or what?"
Mr. Everett, whose own father was murdered in his apartment in 1981, offered condolences to the family of the slain BP clerk, Matthew Dugan.
"I'm hurt for them, too. I was crying for them," he said. "I'm praying for them, too, and let God touch their hearts, too. Because our family's hurt, their family's hurt. It's a no-win situation.
"Nobody can win with something like this. They've got to bury their brother, and another person, another human being, is probably going to jail for the rest of their life. It's sad."
Staff writer Laren Weber contributed to this report.