Homicide cause remains murky

Police report few leads in central-city fatal shooting

7/23/2013
BY TAYLOR DUNGJEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Rudy Staples, Jr., 29, who was fatally shot July 21 outside 1506 Potomac Dr.
Rudy Staples, Jr., 29, who was fatally shot July 21 outside 1506 Potomac Dr.

Despite the rain Monday, his blood still stained the concrete walk leading to his front door. The night before, police and paramedics swarmed around the central-city apartment building where Rudy Staples, Jr., 29, lay dead. Shot three times.

Lucas County Deputy Coroner Dr. Diane Scala-Barnett said Mr. Staples was shot in the chest, abdomen, and leg. She said Deputy Coroner Dr. Cynthia Beisser, who performed the autopsy Monday, has not issued a ruling pending the results of toxicology tests but that the death is being treated as a homicide.

The idea that someone would kill Mr. Staples was incomprehensible to his father, Rudy Staples, Sr.

“Why would they want to kill Rudy?” he asked.

Mr. Staples spent Sunday night with his cousins — as he often did — playing video games. His father said he liked to spend time with family, building model cars, drawing, and being with his fiancee and 7-year-old daughter.

He left his cousin’s house a little before 10 p.m. and had just gotten out of his car when witnesses reported hearing shots.

No yelling, no arguing, no scuffle. Just shots.

Police were sent to 1506 Potomac Dr., near Fernwood Avenue, at 10:04 p.m. on a report of shots fired when they found Mr. Staples lying in the yard.

Police have not filed any charges and reported having little information to go on. No motive, no suspects.

One witness reported seeing a person running from the scene.

Jacque Staples, Mr. Staples’ stepmother, said the family was driving home from the African-American Festival when they were stopped on West Bancroft Street by Mr. Staples’ brother.

They turned around and drove to the apartment building on Potomac. There were police. Flashing lights. A huge crowd.

Jarice McCann, 17, Staples, Jr.'s step-brother, left, with Jakailee Staples, 8, Jr.'s step-sister, and Rudy Staples, Sr. Members of the family of Rudy Staples, Jr., speak about the 29-year-old at their home on Franklin.
Jarice McCann, 17, Staples, Jr.'s step-brother, left, with Jakailee Staples, 8, Jr.'s step-sister, and Rudy Staples, Sr. Members of the family of Rudy Staples, Jr., speak about the 29-year-old at their home on Franklin.

“I just had to pray and be strong,” Mrs. Staples said.

Monday was a blur.

“Right now I'm lost for words,” the elder Mr. Staples said. He pleaded for those guilty to turn themselves in.

Mr. Staples’ younger stepbrother, Jarice McCann, 17, said Mr. Staples made the family laugh.

He’d make fun of your hat and then ask to wear it, the McCann youth said, smiling at the memory.

Crystal Adams, 40, was pulling up to her mother’s home, two away from where Mr. Staples lived, when she saw an ambulance driving away.

The neighborhood, where Ms. Adams grew up and moved back to four months ago, has changed, she said.

“I’ve seen kids walking down the street and beat the heck out of people for their shoes,” she said. “It’s not safe anymore. Now these kids will destroy you for your shoes, shoot you for your watch.”

Less than a year ago, Deonta Allen, 19, was shot and killed at Fernwood and Waverly avenues, two blocks from where Mr. Staples was killed.

Tra’Quawn Gibson, 18, is awaiting trial for the Allen homicide on Oct. 18 as well as the Nov. 18 shooting death of his estranged girlfriend CreJonnia Bell, 19.

“All this violence needs to come to an end,” Mrs. Staples said. “They need to stop. Stop the violence. It’s senseless.”

Police ask that anyone with information about the shooting call Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111.

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