ST. LOUIS ( -- A mourning St. Louis family is calling on the community to help bring justice to one of their own and to bring change to the presence of violence in the city.

“I want to know why my son is dead and I want someone to be held accountable for it. I don’t want his death to be in vain,” Adolphus Owens said.

Adolphus Owens is the father of 34-year-old Cedric Owens, who was killed following gun fire at a vigil last Monday night in the West Downtown neighborhood at 20th and St. Charles streets. That vigil was also honoring a previous shooting victim, 27-year-old Demetrise Thomas, who was killed near that same area less than 24 hours prior.

Family, friends, former high school teammates and coaches came together to remember Cedric Saturday at a home in South City.

“I’m proud of you boy, couldn’t have had a better son than that boy,” Adolphus Owens said.

“He was a true blessing to be able to coach. He was just one of those special kids, good-natured, hardworking kid, true team player,” said Pat Grimshaw.

Grimshaw was Cedric’s football coach when he attended Eureka High School.  

“Cedric was pouring out love and doing the right thing and then something like this happens. It’s just devastating,” said Grimshaw.

Cedric, a father and fiancé, was simply out at the vigil supporting his niece who was dating Thomas. He was with others grieving Thomas' death when Cedric himself became a victim of gun violence.  

“When the shooting started, he had dispersed,” Adolphus Owens said. “He had started running just like everybody else. But he looked around and his sisters weren’t with him, so he went back.”

That's just the kind of caring, family-oriented person, Adolphus Owens says his son was.

“He was all about positivity. He believed in family. We could always depend on him. And he came to be my best friend,” Adolphus Owens said.

While the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released potential suspect video surveillance from when Thomas was killed, there is no concrete connections his murder is tied Cedric's.

“What happened to him I think was random. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Adolphus Owens. “I feel that people are not speaking up, telling who doing this because I know they know.”

Random or targeted, Adolphus Owens says the violence all needs to stop. However, goes beyond the need to increase police presence downtown, it’s public accountability.

“We as citizens got to report stuff that we know. When we know certain crimes go down, we have to help the police,” Adolphus Owens said.

He says people need to rally behind stopping senseless shootings like this rather than waiting for solutions.

“When a police officer for whatever reason be involved in a shooting, we’ve got all these protests and marches, Black lives matters and all that,” he said. “But when we kill each other, Black on Black crime, there’s nothing. It’s just the family having to deal with it themselves."

It is a plea as a father seeking justice but also as St. Louis resident who does not want to see other families lose one of their own.

“I know other parents are going to experience this if the city doesn’t change as a whole,” he said. "If anything, for St. Louis to rally around and help us find out who’s been committing a lot of these murders here in St. Louis because it's really bad. You can hardly even go to the store. They’re killing women and children. It’s crazy.”

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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