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50 attend vigil for victim in city slaying

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A crowd gathers outside the East Weber Street home where Darnell Townsend-Tall was slain.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Less than 24 hours after her younger brother was shot and killed, Devona Townsend asked the dozens of people gathered in front of the North Toledo home where the 36-year-old man was gunned down Monday to raise their candles in tribute.

About 50 people held the long, white candlesticks in honor of Darnell Townsend-Tall, who was shot and killed inside 339 E. Weber St. shortly before 6:30 p.m.

"Remember him for the [man] he truly was," Ms. Townsend, 37, said to the crowd.

The father of five died about 15 minutes after police arrived at the scene, authorities said.

The cause of death, according to an autopsy performed Tuesday by the Lucas County Coroner's Office, was gunshot wounds in the head.

He was shot three times -- twice in the head and once in the arm, Dr. James Patrick, Lucas County coroner, said.

The death has been ruled a homicide. It was the 23rd homicide in Toledo this year, the 27th in metro Toledo.

The victim's girlfriend, Zyra Braswell, 29, who also lived in the home, was shot in the leg during the chaos. Ms. Braswell was taken to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center; a hospital spokesman said Tuesday night no patient was listed by that name.

Ms. Townsend believes the fatal attack on her younger brother was personal.

Ms. Townsend of Toledo said she was on the phone with her brother when, at 5:41 p.m., he abruptly stopped talking.

She said she heard the sounds of a scuffle and that she believed her brother was trying to fight off his attackers.

The fight started outside and eventually went inside the home, Ms. Townsend said, based on what she was hearing on her end of the phone.

"They didn't just run in and shoot him," she said, adding that to her, someone wanted to make him suffer by prolonging the attack.

"He was my best friend," Ms. Townsend said.

She also said she and her brother were in business together. About two years ago, the brother-sister duo started an entertainment business that handled concert promotion, talent shows, and block parties.

According to Mr. Townsend-Tall's Facebook page, he was also a personal trainer and a contractor who installed flooring.

The gunmen -- police say there are at least two and possibly as many as four -- also shot a 2-year-old "pit bull." On Monday night, authorities could not find the dog even after following its blood trail out of the house. However, about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the dog came home.

Authorities were not sure whether a bullet was still lodged inside the animal, and the dog was expected to be transported to a vet Tuesday to see if a bullet needed to be removed via surgery and placed into evidence.

Police have not identified any suspects, but witnesses told authorities that there were at least two gunmen who wore masks masks and hooded sweatshirts.

Mr. Townsend-Tall has five children ranging in age from 10 to 14. They live with their mothers and were not present during the attack.

"Everybody who knows my brother loves my brother," Ms. Townsend said. "The violence has got to stop in this city. It's senseless at this point."

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 419-255-1111.

Contact Taylor Dungjen at: tdungjen@theblade.com or 419-724-6054.

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