|Birth: ||Oct. 15, 1983|
|Death: ||Apr. 30, 2011|
Murder suspect. Killed in a shoot-out with Columbus, Ohio police:
Murder suspect killed in shootout with police
3 officers wounded by man linked to four deaths in Adams County
Sunday, May 1, 2011 03:11 AM
Updated: Sunday, May 1, 2011 02:35 PM
By Holly Zachariah, Mary Beth Lane and Collin Binkley
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Randle L. Roberts, 27, was killed on the front stoop of his mother's home at 1939 Genessee Ave. after exchanging gunfire with police. A second man with Roberts, whose name has not been released, was wounded.
Police said they had been looking for Roberts since he shot up two North Linden homes, on Hiawatha and Oaklawn streets, after 10 a.m. Saturday.
They tracked him back to his mother's house, where he came out the front door shooting, witnesses said.
Police learned only later that Roberts was suspected of killing four members of his wife's family in Adams County, likely on Friday night. He had been staying there to avoid pending charges in Franklin and Delaware counties, relatives said.
Here is what authorities and relatives say happened in Adams County (Ohio):
About 10:30 a.m., 8-year-old Mariah Stephens awoke to find something wrong with the rest of her family. She ran to a neighbor's house for help.
Authorities responded to the home, which is owned by a man named Beaucifus Stephens. Inside they found the dead: Kendra Stephens, Beau's wife; their 11-year-old daughter, Harley Stephens; Beau's sister, Sonya Stephens; and Beau's father, George Stephens, who was disabled.
The family Chihuahua, Leo, also had been shot but was alive.
Relatives of the Stephenses said last night that Roberts' wife, Tiffany Walters, is Beau Stephens' niece.
Sheriff Rogers said George Stephens was found dead in a recliner in the living room. The mother and daughter were found together in one bedroom, and Beau's sister was in another bedroom.
Authorities confirmed that Roberts was the man killed by police in Columbus by identifying his multiple tattoos. Beau Stephens was in Adams County and would not talk to reporters.
Although there is much more to do to piece the story together and figure out why Roberts left such a trail of violence, authorities know some things already.
Sheriff Rogers said Roberts fled Adams County in his wife's Chevrolet Blazer.
He made it as far as the intersection of Cook Yankeetown Road and Rt. 62 near the Fayette/Madison county line. He abandoned the SUV in a ditch. Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said one of his deputies found the Blazer there about 3 p.m. yesterday.
The pickup truck that Roberts was driving in Columbus - the one he crashed through the fence at Genessee and Joyce - was stolen from a home up the road from where that Blazer was abandoned, Stanforth said.
Then, it is thought, Roberts made his way to Columbus.
Just after 10 a.m. yesterday, police got a call of shots fired into a home at 2639 Hiawatha St. Officers went to investigate. While there, a report of shots fired into a house at 3468 Oaklawn St. came in.
This time, witnesses gave police a vehicle description. Mifflin Township police officers soon spotted the truck, and there was a short pursuit.
Police said last night that they still didn't know the connection - if any - between Roberts and the homes on Hiawatha and Oaklawn and why he might have targeted them.
Police SWAT teams yesterday morning also, for some time, were hunting around 2116 Minnesota Ave., not far from the other scenes. That's where they thought Roberts might have been heading and, quite possibly, where his wife was staying.
No one was found hurt or in trouble at that address, although the activity added another street to the long list of places where residents were running scared.
For more than two hours, while police made certain that no one else in the several-block area was injured and that no more suspects were on the loose, SWAT vehicles rumbled down the streets and heavily-armed officers stood ready at every corner and nook and cranny.
Helicopters buzzed overhead, and officers repeatedly warned the dozens and dozens of curious people who roamed the sidewalks and surrounded almost every inch of the cordoned-off area that they should go back inside.
But by mid-afternoon, the tension eased and the hundreds of officers, detectives and investigators who had answered the call for help began to trickle away.
By 2 p.m. or so, Weiner said everyone was confident that Roberts had been their man.
Even before yesterday, Roberts had a history here. He had burglary charges pending against him in courts in Franklin and Delaware counties from October and December, court records show.
Gilbert, the police union president, said late yesterday that he was learning more information about Roberts and his background. When the whole story becomes public, people will hail every officer involved as a hero, he said.
"When this was unfolding, they didn't yet know he had already murdered four people," Gilbert said. "But this was a multiple murderer with nothing to lose. This was a man who, by the time he got here, wanted to kill police officers and tried very hard to do that."
While the officers involved recover, and relatives and friends of the Stephens family grieve, and those who knew Roberts grapple with the why, investigators will continue to piece together the puzzle.
And the residents of the neighborhood - one that, by their own admission is no stranger to gunshots, violence and crime - no doubt will talk about and dissect for days how lucky everyone was that the carnage wasn't worse.
James Savannah, who lives on Joyce Avenue, a few doors from where everything happened, pointed out that it all went down before noon on a warm and sunny Saturday morning, one of the first of those we've seen in a while.
Children were out playing and people were walking the streets when the gunfire broke out.
"We hear and see gunfire out here a lot, that's for sure," Savannah said. "But this wasn't nothing like normal. These were big guns, lots of guns and everybody was shooting, and kids out here and all. I'm happy it wasn't worse."
Gilbert, having spent part of the afternoon at the bedside of three wounded officers, agreed: "As awful as this is for everyone involved, it could have been so, so much worse."
Created by: Dave
Record added: May 01, 2011
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