The plan Monday night was to finally record a tribute song to memorialize Darnell Green’s cousin.
Green and several friends met up at 25 E. Pearl St., where they planned to cut the track and have an otherwise quiet evening.
At 8:25 p.m., police were dispatched to the North Toledo home on a report of two people shot. When they arrived, they found Green, 23, and John Hill, 25, dead.
RELATED CONTENT: 2013 Blade Homicide Report
“You don’t expect somebody to lose their life over nonsense,” said Kenya Williams, Green’s mother. “But in this day and age right now, it’s not a shock because that’s what all these young people are doing. And the sad part is, they don’t realize how much they’re ruining their lives and the lives around them.”
Green was shot seven times and was struck in his head, torso, and arms, said Dr. Maneesha Pandey, Lucas County deputy coroner.
She also performed the autopsy on Mr. Hill; he was shot once in the head.
Both deaths were ruled homicides.
Toledo police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said the shooter or shooters fired from outside the home. At least some shots were fired through a front door with glass.
The motive was unclear Tuesday night, but police weren’t ruling out any possibilities, including gangs, drugs, or more personal reasons.
East Pearl is in an area claimed by Bloods gangs, but police did not know if gang ties prompted the shootings. They also don’t know if Mr. Hill and Green were intended targets.
Police said they have little information that would definitively link either man to a gang.
No charges have been filed and police said they have very little to go on in tracking down possible suspects.
Sundra Henderson, 28, lives next door to the Pearl Street home and said she and her cousin were sitting inside and heard the gunshots. “It sounded like they could be on my porch shooting. Those gunshots were so loud,” she said.
She said she saw someone wearing all black run past her house moments after the shots stopped.
She went outside and saw a man bent over crying — two people were shot, he told her.
“It didn’t seem real until they brought out the bodies,” she said.
Ms. Williams was at work when she got the call — her son was shot, but they didn’t know much more than that. Not yet.
She went to the Pearl Street home and waited for hours to confirm what she already knew — that her boy was gone.
“He was different from the other boys his age,” said Green’s grandmother, Deborah Williams. “He had a different mind-set, you know.
"He was so mature, you would have thought there was an older person living inside him.”
A video posted to Facebook about a month ago features both Green and Mr. Hill singing the tribute song — which they were to record Monday — about Elijah Mathis, Green’s cousin who died Dec. 12, 2011, when he shot himself.
In the video, the victims make some claims to Blood affiliations, but that could have more to do with where the men lived and guilt by association, Ms. Williams said.
“It’s the area,” she said. “Bloods, because you grew up here, that’s what it is. Just because you’re from here. It doesn’t mean you're out there banging.”
Ms. Williams said she wishes she hadn’t moved her children to North Toledo, to an area “claimed” by Stickney 33, a Bloods gang, but she did her best to provide structure and a safe home for them.
Green, although he was convicted in 2011 of improper discharge of a firearm into a habitation, “was a good kid.”
Ms. Williams said she asked all of her son’s friends to not retaliate against whomever is responsible.
“These young folks need to, first of all, stop all this violence,” she said. “Y’all fighting for the wrong thing. Y’all fighting for colors, y’all fighting for neighborhoods, y’all fighting for reputation, and it’s not giving you a reputation. … Picking up a gun don’t give you no honor. It just says you’re a punk.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Stoppers program at 419-255-1111. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.