Sunday, October 13, 2002

Sharonville man: Sniper killed friend

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

SHARONVILLE — It's not his friend's death that bothers James Clingman as much as the way he died — as the eighth victim of the sniper wreaking havoc in suburban Washington, D.C.

“It was just a horrible thing to hear. I just hung up the phone and cried like a baby.

“It's a very weird kind of thing. Not because of the death but because of how he died,” said Mr. Clingman, who knew Kenneth Bridges, 53, of Philadelphia, for five years.

Mr. Bridges, co-founder of a marketing and distribution organization, was killed Friday at a Fredericksburg, Va., gas station.

Both men held a steadfast interest in economically empowering African-Americans, and communicated with each other weekly.

They talked Thursday.

Mr. Clingman, who writes a syndicated column for African- American newspapers across the nation, was in Alabama. Mr. Bridges was in Virginia on business.

They promised to talk later in the day since because both faced long drives home.

Once in Sharonville, Mr. Clingman kept trying to reach his friend, to no avail. His calls weren't returned.

On Friday, he learned why. Mr. Bridges, a married father of six children, was dead.

“Ken was one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet,” he said.

“It's kind of hard to believe that he's not here and he can't see his family anymore. He was just a good person.”

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