YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Joi Howell wonders every day, more than 14 years after her baby was slain in a South Avenue parking lot, how he would have turned out.
Jermaine Reynolds was just 18 and the youngest of Howell’s four children when he was shot and killed July 17, 2005, in the parking lot of the Krakusky Hall in Youngstown during a graduation party.
The case is still unsolved.
Howell said she always wonders what Reynolds would be doing now if he was still alive.
“What would he be doing now? What would he look like now?” Howell asked recently in the kitchen of her East Side apartment. “He was a good guy. Everybody loved him. If you were having a bad day, he would make you laugh.”
Howell said her son was killed after some people at the party got in a fight with another group of people at a nearby gas station on South Avenue.
The lead detective on the case is now retired and did not return a message asking why the case went cold.
After Reynolds was shot, a large crowd at the crime scene was so unruly that police from Boardman had to be called in to assist with crowd control. Detective Sgt. Ed Kenney, then a patrolman, was one of the first officers to answer the 911 call after Reynolds was shot and said the crowd made things difficult for police trying to secure the crime scene.
“It was complete chaos,” Kenney said.
In those kinds of situations, patrol officers not only have to secure a crime scene and find any witnesses but they also have to figure out if the shooter is still on the scene, Kenney said.
“You don’t know if the shooter is there, you don’t know anything,” Kenney said.
Reports said someone was hiding in some nearby bushes and fired several shots from a semiautomatic rifle into the parking lot.
Howell said she was at the party and left about 10 minutes before her son was shot. She said as she was going home she saw police and ambulances going by her in the opposite directions with their sirens on.
She was angry immediately after her son died but Howell said she asked for help forgiving the person who killed him.
“I asked God to let me forgive,” Howell said. “I didn’t want to go to hell for hating them people.”
Although she forgives, Howell said she still wants someone to pay for killing her son.
“I just really want justice,” Howell said.
Howell said she struggles during the holiday season, and especially her son’s birthday. She said she can stop thinking of what he would be like if he was still alive.
“I think about him all the time,” Howell said.
Anyone with information on the case can call the Detective Bureau at 330-742-8911.
WKBN covered the shooting in 2005. Watch the video above for our archived footage.
This story is part of a series of cold cases that WKBN is examining.
Do you have a cold case that you’d like us to look into further? Submit a cold case to WKBN.