With his last breaths, Charles King saved his family.
King must have known something wasn’t right when he opened the back door Friday night to a couple of men who were supposed to be buying a television he had for sale for $50.
He shouted to the front of the apartment, where his fiancee, their daughter and a friend were in the living room.
“Run, baby, run!”
Sarah Ichrist, 30, ran out the front door of 366 Kelton Ave., crouching in the bushes of her neighbor’s house with her friend and 6-year-old daughter, Emma. Two or three shots rang out, she said.
The three huddled there. When she looked up, Ichrist saw King, 31, on the ground out front. He didn’t respond when she screamed, “Baby!”
“I know he spent his last breath running through that house, making sure we were safe,” she said.
Medics pronounced him dead in the middle of Kelton Avenue on the Near East Side at 9:30 p.m. Police say they know of no suspects or motive.
Ichrist, shaking as she sat on her mother’s front porch yesterday, said it must have been a setup.
The men first knocked on the front door of the family’s duplex and stood on the porch, waiting next to a little girl’s pink bicycle. King, who everyone called “Chuck,” directed them to the back door through the front window.
The killers must have walked past the lawnmowers lined up next to the house on the way back. King did odd jobs, Ichrist said, including mowing lawns and shoveling snow. Lately, he’d been working for a tax preparer handing out flyers.
King took on the role of father for Ichrist’s daughter Emma and her 4-year-old twin girls. Ichrist had started dating King about the time she found out she was pregnant with Alexi and Ava, and King said he wanted to raise them as his. They have his last name. King and Ichrist had a fourth daughter together, 2-year-old Aniya.
The younger girls were asleep upstairs as their mom listened to their dad die.
King’s blood was streaked down the glass front door of the duplex yesterday. On her mother’s porch four blocks away, Ichrist sobbed, thinking about her and her girls’ loss.
“I can feel him,” she said. “He was my soul mate.”
She wonders how to tell 4- and 2-year-olds that their daddy is gone. Emma already knows.
“My baby said she’s going to make a wish tonight,” Ichrist said. “For daddy to come back.”
By Allison Manning - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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