The above video is from WKBN’s report on the murder of Quinton Floyd in 2006.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The five young men Booker Newberry mentored in the 90s have stayed in his memories, even after they died.
The five, who took part in the United Methodist Community Center programs at the Pearl Street Mission on the East Side from 1996-99, were family for Newberry and much more.
They were good at music.
They were good at sports.
They were playful and easygoing.
They were smart and artistic.
And they were all murdered. Their cases are all unsolved.
Despite the hundreds of other boys he mentored who have gone on to have successful lives, Newberry said he always wondered if he could have done more for the five.
“I felt like what more could have I done?” he asked.
The five are:
Terril Mitchum, 18, who was shot and killed Jan. 12, 2001, following a shootout in the 100 block of Kenmore Avenue that wounded two men.
James Rozenblad, 23, who was shot and killed Nov. 28, 2004, inside a home on North Bruce Street.
Quinton Floyd, 23, who was found shot to death Christmas Eve 2006 inside a home on Sherwood Avenue in a shooting that also killed a 14-year-old boy.
Christopher Howard, 24, who was one of four people shot to death Jan. 29, 2007, in a home on West Evergreen Avenue.
Waymon Harris, 25, who was found shot to death Nov. 18, 2007, inside a home on South Truesdale Avenue.
The five were in the Community Cares program, a program for at-risk middle school students in the mid to late 90s. Newberry saw students from North Middle School and Hillman Junior High.
During that time, there was a lot of risk for young people in a lot of the city’s neighborhoods, as Youngstown was in the middle of a crime wave that saw an average of 49.2 people murdered throughout the decade.
Because his father worked at the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center, Newberry said he decided to volunteer for the Community Cares program.
When asked over the phone, Newberry said he attended South High School and Westminster College. But he failed to mention that he is a member of the Titans’ Hall of Fame for his exploits on the basketball court, as well as for track and field. He also played both football and basketball for the Warriors while he was in high school. He still works with youth today.
Newberry said there was nothing in his interactions with the five that would have ever led him to believe someone would want to kill them.
“There was nothing to believe there were any major problems,” Newberry said.
Three of the five were liked family, Newberry said, especially Floyd.
“I practically adopted Q, and I stayed in his life until he passed,” he said.
Mitchum was a cousin and was the first of the five to be killed. His death hit Newberry hard.
“It came as just a total shock,” Newberry said.
Rozenblad’s had been shot before which made his death especially tough to deal with, Newberry said.
“That one really hit me because he had been shot several years earlier,” Newberry said. “I spent a lot of time with him at the hospital.”
Rozenblad was also a very good basketball player, Newberry said.
“He was a very good athlete all around,” he said.
Floyd’s death, he said, “Still brings tears to my eyes.” Floyd was home for Christmas and Newberry had plans to visit him. He remembers waking up to “20 or 30 missed calls on my phone. I remember saying, ‘Oh, my God, I hope something didn’t happen to Quinton.'”
Howard, who died a couple of weeks after Floyd was killed, “was like the comedian in the group,” Newberry said.
Harris was very good at art, Newberry said.
“I would have never thought anyone would want to harm him,” Newberry said.
What helps him is his faith and his relationship with the families of those who are slain. Newberry said he talks with Mitchum’s sister and recently spoke to the father of Rozenblad. And the relationships he built with other kids who are doing well in life now also help him.
“In those three years, I probably worked with 80 to 100 kids and I still remember every one of them,” Newberry said.
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.
If anyone has information on the following cases, they can contact the Youngstown Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-742-8911 or 330-746-CLUE.
- Terril Mitchum, 18, shot and killed Jan. 12, 2001, in the 100 block of Kenmore Avenue.
- James Rozenblad, 23, shot and killed in a home on North Bruce Street.
- Quinton Floyd, 23, killed Dec. 24, 2006, in a home on Sherwood Avenue.
- Christopher Howard, 24, killed Jan. 29, 2007, in a home on West Evergreen Avenue.
- Waymon Harris, 25, shot to death Nov. 18, 2007, in a home on South Truesdale Avenue.