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Police hunt killer or killers of four people discovered shot to death execution style

TNS Regional News • Apr 21, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic assured the community Friday that investigators are working to find the killer or killers of four people discovered shot to death execution style in a public housing unit on Thursday.

“The Akron Police Department will continue to work tirelessly, as they always do when events like this occur, to sort through these events, capture the suspects and solve these serious crimes,” the mayor said. “All resources are being exhausted so that these homicides can be solved as quickly as possible. “

Investigators said Friday there were no new developments in the murder of two women and two men found dead in the basement of an apartment near Chapel Hill Mall.

Lt. Rick Edwards said there are no suspects and police have yet to determine a motive in the killings on Kimlyn Circle.

The shooting is among the most deadly in recent memory in the city. In August 1992, three women were slain in the Edgewood Homes area of Akron.

The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted autopsies Friday, said Gary Guenther, chief investigator for the medical examiner. The victims are: Ronald Roberts, 24, of Kimlyn Place; Kem Delaney, 23, of Merton Avenue in Akron; Maria Nash, 19, address unknown, and Kiana Welch, 19, address unknown.

The victims — all shot in the face — were discovered in an Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority-owned townhouse located on Kimlyn Circle off of Independence Avenue.

Kem Delaney, 53, of Detroit, said Friday afternoon that his son, Kem Rashad Delaney, was among the victims.

The family, he said, has no “clue” as to why someone would want to kill their loved one.

Kem Rashad Delaney attended Buchtel High School and later received his GED and was currently attending classes part time at the University of Akron, according to the family.

April Roberts-Gilbert on Thursday said her son, Ronald Roberts, was killed. The family said Roberts recently became a father for the second time and was training to be a draftsman.

Plusquellic said the city is “looking at all possible means to stop these incidents before they happen.”

“Nobody wants to hear about these tragedies, and we are continuously trying to find ways to anticipate and protect against these horrific events,” he said.

This month has been a particularly busy time for homicide investigators in Summit County.

A couple from New Franklin was bludgeoned to death in their home. An Akron teen and an Akron man are in custody and charged with the couple’s deaths.

Another death, this time an Akron McDonald’s worker killed as he took out the trash, also has dominated headlines. An Akron man is in custody for the worker’s death.

Plusquellic pointed to the swift arrest in the McDonald’s case as an example of the tireless work by the police department and the assistance of the public to help bring justice for families.

The mayor said Thursday’s mass killing has once again left the city “to mourn the lives of four young people.”

“[Thursday’s] acts do not appear to be random acts of violence,” the mayor said. “The victims appear to have been targeted for reasons still under investigation.”

Akron Councilman Bruce Kilby, who represents Ward 2, where the homicides occurred, said he hasn’t gotten many complaints about the Kimlyn Circle townhouses other than about kids jumping fences and walking through neighborhoods.

“I never had any problems with it,” he said.

Kilby said he was shocked to hear about what happened and drove past the townhouses Friday.

“A quadruple execution — that makes national news,” he said. “To pick up the paper and see this ‘Four slain near Chapel Hill’... Gosh, the families really are going through some traumatic times here. That’s a shame.”

Kilby said the police department does a good job responding to high-profile crimes like this one, but he questioned whether the department has the officers it needs to do police work the “old-fashioned way,” responding to lower-priority complaints, such as a suspected drug house, and having a presence in the neighborhoods.

“I just kind of think we need more cops out there, but the little things in neighborhoods are what drives people crazy,” he said. “We are not doing anything about low-level drug dealing.”

Akron currently has 411 police officers and is in the process of training 40 more, which would bring the department up to its budgeted strength of 451, according to Stephanie York, the city’s spokeswoman.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Akron police at 330-375-2490. Anonymous tips for this or any crime can be left online at http://ci.akron.oh.us/ASP/tip.html.

* * *

(A previously published story with additional reaction and other related information appears below.)

The cries of mothers reverberated in the humid air around a North Akron apartment complex Thursday afternoon as the women learned of four young adults found shot to death execution style.

The victims, two men and two women all in their 20s, all died of apparent gunshot wounds to the heads, families and police said. They were found in the basement of a Kimlyn Circle townhouse leased by a victim’s sister.

Relatives were told that shell casings were found on two levels of the apartment.

The victims’ identities were not released Thursday night.

But families and friends among the growing crowd of onlookers already knew the truth. Many had heard the names through witnesses who found the four bodies inside the AMHA-owned townhouse near Independence Avenue and Chapel Hill Mall.

At one point, police escorted the mothers of at least two victims across the yellow crime-scene tape. The women did not view the carnage, but were given enough information to know the identities of their adult children.

Afterward, the women and their families walked back to the parking lot in tears, some wailing loudly in agony as they collapsed in the arms of loved ones waiting with the throng.

The bodies of the four victims were taken to the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office where autopsies were to be performed and positive IDs established. No suspects had been identified and no motive had been formed, police said.

April Roberts-Gilbert, 45, came to the complex about 4 p.m. with her former husband. She was met by her father, Clifford Walters, and her son, Donald Roberts.

Roberts-Gilbert said her son, Ronald Roberts, 24, of Akron, was one of the victims.

“My son would not do anything for anything like this to happen,” she said, sobbing. “I just feel that it is wrong that they’re out there killing each other. And for what? What does it solve? It’s not solving anything.

“Now, I have a 24-year-old son that I have to put away. And for what? Can you please tell my why? That’s all I want to know. Why?”

Jasmeen Wadud, 30, was friends with Ronald Roberts and his sister, Diamond Roberts, who lived in the townhouse where the shootings took place. Diamond Roberts was not home during the shootings, her family said.

Last seen in morning

Ronald Roberts was staying at his sister’s home and was seen taking out the trash about 7 a.m. Friends said one of the female victims was dating Roberts. Wadud said she left her home about 10 a.m. and returned after learning of the shooting.

“I saw Ronald in the morning like normal,” Wadud said. “And the next thing you know, I get a call about this.”

Donald Durham, 54, the father of Ronald Roberts, said his son recently became a father for the second time and was training to be a draftsman. He said his son was a “good kid.”

“I just think he might have got caught up with the wrong crowd,” Durham said. “Whoever did this wasn’t looking for him. But they weren’t going to leave any witnesses.”

Nearby, Donald Roberts was being greeted by family and friends, offering condolences for his slain younger brother.

“My brother was a good kid, he didn’t deserve to be killed like that,” he said. “You didn’t have to do my little brother like that.”

A contingent of Akron police officers, from patrolmen to detectives to Police Chief James Nice, were at the scene. Officers were canvassing the circular complex, talking to residents to determine if anyone heard or saw something related to the shooting.

Detective work

Police Lt. Rick Edwards said he expected officers to be at the scene well into the night as the department tried to unravel the slayings, considered one of the largest mass shootings in recent city history.

Tony O’Leary, executive director of Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, expressed surprise at the discovery of four bodies inside a unit the agency owns.

“Historically, it has been a very calm development,” O’Leary said. “We track all police reports for all of our developments. There’s generally a low level of activity there that would require a police response.”

A private developer initially built the town home complex, O’Leary said. AMHA acquired it several decades ago.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Akron police at 330-375-2490. Anonymous tips for this or any crime can be left online at http://ci.akron.oh.us/ASP/tip.html.

Information may also be provided anonymously by calling Summit County Crimestoppers at 330-434-COPS (2677). Tipsters may qualify for a cash reward.


By Phil Trexler Jim Carney, Stephanie Warsmith - Akron Beacon Journal (MCT)

©2013 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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