Tuesday, April 27, 1999

Deaths called murder, suicide

Musician-brother's motive undetermined

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DAYTON, Ohio — Authorities on Monday were unsure whether they can learn why R&B recording artist Roger Troutman was killed Sunday morning by his older brother, Larry.

        The deaths were ruled a homicide and suicide.

        “The situation before the shooting apparently was known to only the Troutman brothers,” Detective Carol Johnson, Dayton police spokeswoman, said Monday afternoon. “Our detectives are still doing interviews” with family members.

        The pair lived in Hamilton as youngsters, but Hamilton relatives declined comment Monday.

        Detective Johnson said the men had lived in Dayton for at least two decades, and she was unaware of any previous police involvement with the men or their recording studio.

Career in revival
        The deaths were discovered by witnesses who heard gunshots, then went to investigate, Detective Johnson said.

        The Montgomery County coroner's office said Larry Troutman used a .357 Smith & Wesson revolver to shoot his brother twice in the back and twice in the chest at their family's recording studio. Larry Troutman then drove several blocks and shot himself once in the head as he sat in his vehicle, said Ken Betz, coroner's office director.

        Mr. Betz called Roger Troutman's death “a tragic loss to the Dayton community and to the music industry.”

        Roger Troutman was 47; his brother, 54.

        Roger Troutman and his band, Zapp, were scheduled to perform this summer in Cincinnati at the Coors Light Festival.

        The group was probably best known for its 1980 hit, “More Bounce to the Ounce.” Recording solo under the name Roger, Roger Troutman scored a No. 1 hit in 1987 with “I Want to Be Your Man.”

        Roger Troutman's death comes during a career resurgence; his trademark mix of funk and electronics was leading a revival of “old school” music from the late '70s and early '80s.


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