Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Man found slain on Roselawn street

By Randy Tucker,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Death followed Roselawn resident Earnesto Shearer like a villainous spirit Tuesday.

        The “haunting” began about 3:45 a.m. when Mr. Shearer heard knocking at his door and rustled out of bed to see who was there.

[photo] A sign asks “Why?” about the fatal shooting at RNS Food Store in Pleasant Ridge on Monday night.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        He peered through a window and saw two Cincinnati police officers standing on his doorstep. When he opened the door, he saw why they were there.

        A man's body was lying in the street less than 30 feet from his front door in the 7300 block of Eastlawn Drive, and the officers wanted to question Mr. Shearer about what he had seen or heard.

        Mr. Shearer told the officers he heard a loud noise about an hour earlier but didn't give it a second thought.

        “I have an old roof, and I thought the sound I heard earlier could have been shingles falling off onto my aluminum carport,” Mr. Shearer said. “But I walked outside, and there he was. Man, it's getting crazy around here.”

        According to police, neighbors reported hearing several shots before a passerby discovered the body of Stanley Elliott, 47, near the intersection of Eastlawn Drive and Glendon Place.

        So far, police have no motive or suspects in the killing of the Hartwell man.

        The homicide was the second in hours, the first a Monday night killing at a Pleasant Ridge store.

        Mr. Shearer was haunted by that crime, too.

        He stopped by the store about 2 p.m. Tuesday to buy lottery tickets before picking up his son from nearby Pleasant Ridge school.

        As he approached the door of RNS Food Store at the corner of Lester and Montgomery roads, he was shocked to learn from other customers that the store was closed because the owner had been shot and killed during a robbery attempt.

        “What? Not again. This is just ridiculous,” Mr. Shearer said as he turned and walked away.

        Cincinnati police are still looking for the man who killed the store owner, Jagdishch Patel, 57, who was found about 8:20 p.m. behind the counter.

        Mr. Patel had operated the store for at least a decade, neighbors said, and was planning to retire soon and return to his native India.

        Investigators said others in the store, including at least one family member, screamed for Mr. Patel to give the robber the cash he was demanding. The robber ordered them to the floor, and then they heard the shot, police said.

        The man seen leaving the scene is described as 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-6 and thin, wearing a black, baggy, ski-type mask with frayed, cutout eyeholes. He wore a dark sweat shirt or jacket and baggy jeans with large rear pockets. He was armed with a handgun, police said.

        Mr. Patel and the man found in the street in Roselawn were the 16th and 17th homicide victims in the area so far this year. That compares with 14 at this point in 2001, when the area's 61 victims set a 14-year high.

        Mr. Shearer wasn't the only one who was troubled by the most recent killings.

        “To me, they were hard-working people just like me,” said Mary Barkely, who owns a beauty salon on the same block as the family-owned convenience store. “To be shot down like that ... It's scary. I called to see about getting more security this morning.”

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