In front of Steven Auxter’s house on Broadway, a decorative witch hangs from a bush, partially covering a sign that states, “BE HAPPY” and “DON’T WORRY.”
Messages written in bright colors dot the path leading to the porch: “Flip your mind.” “50 STEPS TO CHANGE THE WORLD.”
On Wednesday morning only a bloodstain that dried on the concrete beside those uplifting words underscored the event that unfolded less than 24 hours before, when police say Mr. Auxter was shot by another man who then shot and killed himself.
Now Mr. Auxter, 35, remains in critical condition at the hospital while police investigate the shooting in this quiet South Toledo neighborhood that borders Walbridge Park.
Investigators believe 24-year-old Adam Beverly on Tuesday afternoon shot Mr. Auxter inside his home on the 2800 block of Broadway. Mr. Beverly then went outside and shot himself in front of the house, witnesses told police. Both men were taken to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio hospital.
Mr. Beverly later died of his injuries.
At 4:32 p.m. Tuesday, just minutes before the shooting was reported to police, Mr. Auxter posted a status on his Facebook page: “Goodbye Toledo. It’s been real.”
Toledo police Lt. Kevan Toney said Mr. Auxter had been planning to take a trip, and officers believe the status is unrelated to the shooting.
Still, responses to the post detail the reactions of Mr. Auxter’s friends and family as they heard news of the shooting. What started as online comments wishing Mr. Auxter well during his travels evolved into friends posting messages of concern, thoughts, and prayers.
Mr. Auxter is the type of person who offered to cut his neighbors’ grass, hosted pool parties and garage sales for the community, and danced in the street with his friends, neighbor Mallory Myers said.
Ms. Myers said, “He was just a calm, really peaceful guy.”
“Whoever needed a place to stay, he invited them to come,” she said.
People were always coming from and going to Mr. Auxter’s home, she said, and he and his friends were frequently outside. At parties, she said he and his friends would have Hula Hoop contests.
He and others who lived in the house did odd jobs for money, and he would cut the grass for her and several other residents in the community.
“They had a different lifestyle, but we never had a problem,” Ms. Myers said.
On Tuesday, Ms. Myers came home at about 5:05 p.m., about 15 minutes after police said the shooting occurred, and found the entire street blocked off.
“I was terrified,” she said.
Nothing like that had happened before in that neighborhood, Ms. Myers said. She and about 50 other friends of Mr. Auxter had a gathering for him Wednesday night in Walbridge Park.
Sometimes, Ms. Myers said, she would see Mr. Auxter cross Broadway and walk into the park to sit in front of the Maumee River, just to watch the sky change at sunset.
At the gathering, Megan Price, Mr. Auxter’s girlfriend, said: "We're here today to send out our prayers and love and goodwill for Steve to heal and make a recovery."
"A lot of people helped me,” she continued. “It is very hard. I witnessed everything happening."
Staff writer Mike Sigov contributed to this report.
Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Comments that violate these standards, or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, are subject to being removed and commenters are subject to being banned. To post comments, you must be a registered user on toledoblade.com. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.