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Mother Seeks Answers in Son's Death

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The Richmond Police detective handling the case did not return Style's calls for comment.

Doria Roane says she is convinced there are people who know something that could help Richmond Police solve the case. And she hopes that sharing her grief might compel some answers.

Roane is coordinating a candlelight vigil to take place June 7 at the site where the murder apparently occurred: the intersection of Kingsway and Cross roads off Warwick Road in the South Side.

"I went to the street where it happened," says Carrie Cox of the Greater Jefferson Davis Area Community Civic Association, who is helping Roane set up the vigil. "The houses are close together, some just 50 steps from where James was found in his car. So somebody saw that."

"You can't help but try to put pieces together," Roane says.

James Roane always called family members on birthdays and holidays. So on New Year's Eve when neither Doria Roane nor her sister, Mildred Rogers, received their usual calls from him, they suspected something strange. The next day friends told his mother they had seen her son's '93 maroon Cadillac in the news on TV and that it was linked in the first homicide of the year.

Two Richmond Police detectives confirmed her fears later that day when they paid a visit to James Roane's house to say what they had found. His prized Cadillac was tucked in a modest residential neighborhood. He was slumped inside it, dead from a single gunshot. His wallet, watch, cell phone, gold necklace and even his new reading glasses were stripped from him. He was 6 feet 5 and weighed nearly 300 pounds.

Roane had graduated from John F. Kennedy High School and been a volunteer firefighter with the Job Corps. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served four years before being honorably discharged due to a knee injury.

He was just starting to really live his life, his mother says. "I just need to know who did this and why," she says, "and I believe somebody will get emotional and tell it." — Brandon Walters



Neighborhood Shocked

by Daylight Shootout

A tightknit neighborhood in South Side is shaken after two young men opened fire on a bright Sunday afternoon in what one resident calls "the gunfight at Kingswood Corral."

On Sunday, April 27, children were riding bicycles while neighbors talked on porches and tidied their yards on Kingswood Street, off Broad Rock Boulevard. Just before 2 p.m., resident Evette Wilson was getting in her car to take her teenage son to his job, she says. As she drove down the street, she heard a gunshot.

A young man ran from an adjacent apartment complex into the neighborhood, Wilson says. Another young man in a car sped up the street. When the driver spotted the first man, she says, he stopped, got out and "just started firing."

Neighbors later said they'd seen the car cruising through the neighborhood earlier that day. "I think it was like cat-chase-the-rat, you know," Wilson says.

The pursuer's first shot missed, but he kept firing as the other man stopped and fired back, Wilson says. Meanwhile, children and adults scrambled for cover. "I had to turn my car around and go back through the barrage," Wilson says. Eventually, "they ended up in my yard and my neighbor's yard, shooting."

One raced back to his car to get more bullets while Wilson watched. "He looked at me and said, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,' while he was reloading his gun." He fumbled with his 9 mm pistol, she says, and then drove off.

The other man dropped his .22-caliber gun, with one shell remaining, in Wilson's neighbor's yard and jumped the fence to escape. He left his shoes and hat, along with torn pieces of his shirt on the fence.

The whole thing happened in only five or 10 minutes, Wilson says. "I think everybody in the neighborhood was on the phone. … We were all in shock."

No one was hurt; the incident never made the news. The police report listed the incident as "promiscuous shooting" rather than as a shootout, says police spokeswoman Christie Collins. She says the department received no calls expressing concern about the crime.

But Kingswood residents are rattled. "Do you know the gunman actually sent somebody back to look for the dropped gun?" Wilson says. Another young man strolled through the neighborhood later on Sunday, she says, saying to someone on a cell phone, "I'm on the street now. Which house is it?" Hostile glances encouraged him to leave.

Now the civic association will try to get the city to re-erect a fence that used to stand between the neighborhood and the complex. "You can't stop random violence," Wilson says. "You just don't want them to have an available retreat." Parents in the area have also been worried about recent violence at nearby Meadowbrook High School.

Also, if and when the culprits are caught, many residents have said they will attend the trial to encourage the judge to take the crime seriously. Otherwise, Wilson says, "You're sending the message that it's OK to have an open gunfight. It's not the Wild West anymore."

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