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Corey Childress, center, and Antwon Childress Corey Childress, center, and Antwon Childress, right, try to comfort their younger brother Jowan Childress as they cope with the loss of Jowan's twin, Saveon Childress, who was slain Sunday night.
Corey Childress, center, and Antwon Childress, right, try to comfort their younger brother Jowan Childress as they cope with the loss of Jowan's twin, Saveon Childress, who was slain Sunday night.
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Published: Tuesday, 8/21/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Homicides up 19% in city from same period in 2011

BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Homicides in Toledo are up 19 percent in the first eight months of this year compared to this time in 2011.

As of Monday night, 21 people have been slain in the city, since the beginning of the year, compared with the 17 cases police had opened at this time in 2011.

There were 36 homicides in Toledo in 2011.

"I think overall crime is down, and, as far as homicides go, I think it's too early to draw any conclusions on where our homicides will come in at the end of the year," said Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan.

Toledo Blade homicide report

The city's latest victim, Saveon Childress, 27, was shot multiple times as he and his twin brother, Jowan, walked to a carry-out store in the central city at 10:16 Sunday night. An autopsy performed Monday revealed that the lethal gunshot injuries were to the chest, said Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner.

Police said the brothers were walking along Lincoln Avenue when they encountered two men on bicycles at Lincoln and Hoag Street. The four had a brief conversation. Sergeant Heffernan said the exchange seemed to be about no specific topic, and each pair went their separate ways. The brothers walked north on Hoag and the suspects continued west on Lincoln. It's unclear if the suspects then went north on Ray Street or continued to North Detroit Avenue before turning right onto Prospect Street.

Saveon Childress, 27. Saveon Childress, 27.
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The four met again on Prospect, between Ray and Hoag, when gunfire erupted.

Childress was pronounced dead at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

Witnesses at the scene on Sunday said the suspects were making references to the Bloods.

Sergeant Heffernan said police had not yet established a motive for the shooting.

A crowd of people gathered on Prospect Monday afternoon, grieving the loss of Childress, father of four children.

One woman brought a dozen red and white balloons to add to a makeshift memorial on a utility pole.

"I ain't gonna say he was the best [man]. I ain't gonna say he was a bad [man], but he was my … brother," said Corey Childress, a brother. "I hate that I lost my … brother."

Standing at the spot where Childress was presumably shot, Antwon Childress, another brother, poured alcohol onto the street, dropped to his knees, and smacked the puddle of alcohol with his hands. He then lay motionless on his side next to the spot and closed his eyes.

Later, Antwon, Corey, and Jowan huddled and cried.

Childress was the 16th person in the city this year to be slain by gunfire -- one of those, Leslie Waingrow, 32, was being investigated as a domestic-related murder-suicide.

At least 126 people, including those killed by gunfire, have been shot in Toledo this year.

Police released few other details of the most recent killing but did say that investigators did not find any shell casings at the scene.

Authorities also released surveillance video taken from near the scene that shows a man in a blue T-shirt riding a bicycle. Sergeant Heffernan described the man as a person of interest.

"We'd like to figure out who he is so we can talk to him," the sergeant said.

The day before the killing, only three blocks away, Ernest Banks sponsored a day-long antiviolence event at Oakwood and North Detroit avenues.

"It's very frustrating, but it only strengthens us to go in and move forward," Mr. Banks said. "No matter the outcome, we can't be prisoners in our own home, and we definitely can't be afraid to speak out about what happened."

Mr. Banks, director of Stand Up Man, an organization that promotes turning "'hoods into neighborhoods," said he often walks that central city area talking to the residents, specifically the young men who might be caught up in gangs.

His next step, he said, given Sunday's homicide, is another walk through the neighborhood and then reaching out to residents to "assess the needs of the neighborhood."

He named violence as a top concern.

"We need to curb the violence," Mr. Banks said. "Stopping it is almost an impossible task, so curbing the violence is what we're focusing on.

" … It's going to take a lot of us to change what's going on," Mr. Banks said. "I will, we will, continue to fight and if we can turn every 'hood into a neighborhood, it's going to work."

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com, 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_Blade.



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