Pubdate: Tue, 17 Sep 2002
Source: Blade, The (Toledo, OH)
Copyright: 2002 The Blade
Author: Christina Hall, Staff writer


Shift Of Resources Under Consideration

Toledo's police chief might shift more resources to drug enforcement after 
reviewing the year's 20 homicides, many of which were narcotics-related.

"Slightly less than half of the homicides are related to drugs. That's more 
than previous years. It is causing me a lot of concern," Chief Mike Navarre 
said yesterday, a day after a man was shot to death in the central city and 
a woman's body was found in East Toledo.

He said the department's officers are arresting people and seizing drugs 
and drug money.

With additional resources, the department could do even more to slow the 
flow of drugs into the community and the problems that follow, he said.

Wilma Brown, chairwoman of City Council's public safety committee, said 
council will help combat crime by providing police with overtime pay.

The chief said this year's murder total is one shy of last year's figure. 
Police had 20 homicides through the end of last year.

However, in March, the Lucas County coroner's office ruled the death of 
Toledoan Louis Johnson, 31, a homicide because of delayed complications 
from a 1998 stabbing. He died Dec. 2, 2001.

The chief said his death will be added to the 2001 statistics because he 
died last year.

Unlike other crimes, officials said it's difficult to prevent murders. 
"Some are domestic or on-going feuds. Some are drug-related," Lt. Rick Reed 
said. "Some are just arguments."

The shooting death early Sunday of Roy Orlando Rodgers, 44, of 1650 Milburn 
Ave., occurred after an argument in front of B&J Cafe, 574 Tecumseh St.

Rodgers thought the argument was over. When he went to his car to leave, he 
was shot several times with a handgun. He died of multiple chest wounds, 
Deputy Coroner Dr. Cynthia Beisser said.

Willie Smoot, 36, of 2315 Lagrange St., was charged Sunday with complicity 
to commit murder in the shooting. Police said that Smoot encouraged another 
man - still at large - to shoot Rodgers.

Smoot was being held in the Lucas County jail last night in lieu of 
$250,000 bond set at his arraignment in Toledo Municipal Court.

Investigators are seeking the identity of the shooter, who is described as 
black and in his mid-20s to mid-30s.

Rodgers' wife, Lesli, said she was glad an arrest was made and she thinks 
the other suspect will be caught. "People in Toledo are angry about the 
situation and how it came about," she said.

Investigators also are seeking information in the death of Joan Elaine 
Palacio, 24, of 449 Oak St., whose body was found Sunday afternoon near a 
parking area behind 966 Oak.

Dr. Beisser said preliminary autopsy results showed evidence of 
strangulation. Lieutenant Reed said the woman suffered blunt force trauma.

The victim's father, Larry Angel, declined comment. The victim is a 1997 
graduate of Northwood High School, where she played volleyball.

Lieutenant Reed said investigators have solved 12 of this year's homicides. 
Last week, the department sought Eugene Blakely, 37, of 524 Austin St., on 
a murder warrant in connection with the shooting death Aug. 29 of Willie J. 

The case is drug-related, investigators said.

McMillan, 35, of Oak Street, was shot near 270 Weiler Homes. He died of a 
single gunshot wound to the abdomen.

"I am so happy [a warrant was filed] because he was first-born son. It's a 
terrible loss," the victim's mother, Rose McMillan, said.
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