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Published: Monday, 7/6/2009

Party in East Toledo ends in man's slaying

BLADE STAFF
Graham Graham
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

With many neighborhoods around the Glass City carrying on with their Fourth of July celebrations well past midnight again this year, some residents along Fifth Street in East Toledo weren't particularly surprised to hear six or seven loud popping sounds about 1 a.m. Sunday.

People had been partying on a porch down the street. Some figured it was just some revelers staying up late and using up the last of the firecrackers they or their friends had purchased.

Those sounds, as it turned out, were not from firecrackers. They were gunfire.

Within seconds, a crowd converged on 40-year-old Dexter Wilkey, who lay bleeding on a sidewalk in front of a four-unit apartment building at 459 Fifth.

Hanging from the building is a sign calling it "The Quaife."

Paramedics rushed Mr. Wilkey to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. The victim died shortly thereafter, police said.

Police made an arrest about 10 hours later.

Harrison Graham, 25, known to some neighbors as "Potter," was picked up in the 1800 block of Miami Street and charged with murder about 11 a.m., authorities said.

Some neighborhood residents said Mr. Wilkey and had been shot six or seven, times.

Neighbor Brian Dominique, 27, who moved to Fifth Street earlier this year, recounted the location of wounds he saw on the man's chest, arm, and abdomen.

"He was fading as he left here [in the ambulance]," Mr. Dominique said.

Toledo police Sgt. Bill Wauford said last night he could not confirm the number of times Mr. Wilkey was struck, but acknowledged it was more than once.

"I think you could safely say several," the sergeant said, adding that he had few other details to pass along other than that the apartment building where the incident occurred has come under police scrutiny in the past.

Mr. Graham's booking sheet at the Lucas County jail said he lived in that apartment building.

Neighbors said Mr. Wilkey is from Georgia and frequented the apartment building, presumably to see a woman both men knew.

Neighbors described Mr. Wilkey as an affable man, who was often seen playing with children in the front yard.

The victim and the suspect appeared to know each other and had "talked to each other on a good basis," Mr. Dominique said.

That made the shooting even more surprising, Mr. Dominique said.

Residents said police had been at the apartment building as recently as last week.

The city's records bureau was closed yesterday.

Renee Blanke, 33, and Jeremy Zunk, 37, who live next door to the apartment building, said they have been awakened by the apartment building's "in and out traffic" over the last three years.

"It's been a nightmare," Ms. Blanke said.

But Mr. Zunk said the victim was a calm and orderly man who didn't seem to give anyone a hard time.

"The guy who got shot was an awfully nice guy," Mr. Zunk said.

Contact Tom Henry at:

thenry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6079.



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