Nicholas M. Lopez, 9, and his mother, Markeda Holcomb-Brownlee, mourn the loss of murder victim CreJonnia Bell, 19, during her vigil at her mother's apartment at the Moody Manor in Toledo. Bell was Nicholas' sister and KeeKee's daughter.
In an eight-hour window, two Toledoans – a local business owner and a college student who wanted to work in criminal justice – were shot to death.
Early today, a gym patron found CrossFit Toledo-Intensity Fitness owner Joseph Lengel, Jr., 57, suffering from at least one gunshot wound.
Police responded to the South Toledo gym, 757 Warehouse Rd., at 5:56 a.m. on a report of a person down. Mr. Lengel, who was also a trainer, was taken to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio, where he was pronounced dead at 6:35 a.m., according to the Lucas County Coroner's Office.
Police initially said it appeared Mr. Lengel was shot during a robbery, but they are also investigating other motives, officials said. No arrests have been made, but police obtained surveillance video from a nearby business, said Toledo police Lt. Mark King.
Mr. Lengel's autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
John Demitry, 36, the owner of ToledoMobile Media, which is next to the CrossFit gym, said Mr. Lengel opened the gym six to eight months ago and was a good neighbor.
"He was a helluva nice guy," Mr. Demitry said.
On the CrossFit Games Web site, http://games.crossfit.com, Mr. Lengel wrote that he had taken up CrossFit in 2007 and had qualified for and competed in the Masters 55-59 division for the 2011 Games, finishing sixth overall. He also competed in the 2012 CrossFit Games in July, according to the Web site.
Joe Lengel, owner and trainer of CrossFit Toledo - Intensity Fitness, competes in the 2012 CrossFit Games in July.
Tim Geis, 53, a neighbor from a Monclova Township community where Mr. Lengel used to live, said Mr. Lengel used to be a pastor before he started his fitness business.
"He was a good guy. Everybody seemed to like him. And he was very athletic," Mr. Geis said.
Mr. Lengel was a former youth pastor at Waterville Community Church, who then served as interim lead pastor there from 2004 until March 2011, according to the church's Web site.
Mr. Lengel leaves three adult children, Mr. Geis said. He also had planned to be married in May, according to The Blade marriage license records.
Hours before Mr. Lengel's shooting, CreJonnia Bell, 19, was pronounced dead at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center after she was shot four times at a home on West Weber Street in North Toledo.
Miss Bell was shot in her chest, abdomen, and head, said Lucas County Deputy Coroner Dr. Maneesha Pandey. She ruled the death a homicide.
Miss Bell's boyfriend, Traquawn Gibson, 18, of 2027 Elm St., has been charged with murder and is being held in the Lucas County jail. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in Toledo Municipal Court.
Police were called to 32 W. Weber at 10:26 p.m. Sunday for a report of a person shot.
When police arrived, they found Miss Bell had been shot multiple times; Mr. Gibson was shot once in a leg.
Both were taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. Miss Bell was rushed into surgery but pronounced dead at 2:24 a.m.; Mr. Gibson was treated and released from the hospital, but later taken to the downtown police building for questioning.
Police said today that Mr. Gibson shot himself, but were investigating whether it was accidental or intentional.
Miss Bell's mother, Markeda Holcomb-Brownlee, said her daughter had been dating Mr. Gibson for about six months.
She described her daughter's relationship as physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive.
"I did not like him," Mrs. Holcomb-Brownlee said of Mr. Gibson. "I said, 'Baby, you deserve better, baby.' "
Her daughter, was formerly enrolled in the University of Toledo's criminal justice program this spring, but transferred to Owens Community College and had been attending there this semester, Mrs. Holcomb-Brownlee said. Sunday, hours before she was killed, Miss Bell joined a local church and was to be baptized next week, her family said.
“She had goals,” Mrs. Holcomb-Brownlee said. “She was a smart little girl.”
Miss Bell also enjoyed modeling, dancing, and going to watch her younger brother, Nicholas Lopez, 9, play football.
Her family plans to host a vigil at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Moody Manor. A fund to help the family pay for funeral expenses has been set up at Fifth Third Bank.
The two incidents bring the number of homicides in Toledo in 2012 to 33 and the number of homicides in the metro area to 45.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at email@example.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_Blade.
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