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Slaying marks family's second tragedy

Slaying marks family's second tragedy

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WATERLOO, Iowa --- The Sunday night slaying of a Waterloo man was the second tragedy for his family.

Police found 23-year-old Rodricus Keith Jones, also known as Rodricus Echols, dead near the sidewalk in front of 912 Broadway St. shortly before 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

His brother, Rodney Echols Jr., was gunned down in May 2007 in Memphis, Tenn., in what their father called a "street shooting" that remains unsolved.

"The streets took two of my kids from me," said Rodney Echols Sr. of Waterloo. "This is the second child I lost."

Echols Jr. was killed when he was only 19. His father said the two homicides aren't related.

No arrests have been made in Sunday's death, and police continue to investigate the shooting. Officers found Rodricus Jones after responding to a report of a disturbance in the parking lot of a liquor store across the street and down the block.

Once the area was blocked off, the body remained on the ground for hours.

The father is upset with authorities because he was kept behind the crime scene tape and wasn't allowed to approach his son.

"They could have let me view my son as they were taking him off the ground," said Echols Sr.

He said he was emotional, and officers wouldn't let him get close because they feared it might contaminate the crime scene. He said one officer even pointed a Taser at him.

"I didn't feel like that was justified," he said. "I want them to do their job and find the person who killed my son, I just don't appreciate how they did it."

He said he has little faith in the police.

In the end, it was Rodricus Jones' girlfriend of 17 months, Lakisha Brown, who confirmed the identity through an ID card police found on the body and showed her.

Born in Memphis, Rodricus Jones moved to Waterloo about two years ago to be close to his father. Family said he was also looking for more opportunity than Tennessee had to offer.

He was scheduled to begin studying welding at Hawkeye Community College, Brown said. He was also good with children and was helping raise her three daughters.

"He was like a father to them. My kids called him daddy," Brown said.

Both the father and the girlfriend said they don't know what happened or why anyone would want to kill Jones.

"Now I'm just praying and leaving it in the hands of God," Rodney Echols Sr. said.


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