STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been exactly two years since 4-year-old Rowan Sweeney was shot and killed in Struthers.
It’s two years later and there are still a lot of questions that are still being asked about exactly what happened on that September morning in Struthers.
In 2020, Rowan Sweeney was killed and three adults were injured.
Around 2 a.m., shots were fired at the home on Perry Street. Struthers Police Chief Tim Roddy told us at the scene that Sweeney had died in his mother’s arms.
Since then two men — Kimonie Bryant and Brandon Crump — have been in jail after police charged them with aggravated murder. Bryant, if convicted, could face the death penalty. Crump was a minor at the time of the shooting and therefore could not be put to death.
A third man, Andre McCoy, is also facing similar charges, but police say they have not been able to find him.
Police and prosecutors say the men were looking to rob Sweeney’s mother’s then-boyfriend Yarnell Green. Green was killed just the past Sunday outside a downtown bar.
Bryant and Crump have been in and out of court since 2020.
During a pretrial hearing on Tuesday, DNA testing will be wrapped up by November 7. The DNA issue has been on the table for almost a year. Trial dates have not been set because of this.
Prosecutors say they need the results to determine who to try first. The issue has been held up by the defense who wanted to conduct their own independent testing.
Also on Tuesday, defense attorneys filed a motion to suppress any identification of the client by witnesses.
Further details on the motion are not available as of now.
With all this going on in the background, the community continued to mourn and honor the innocent life lost. Wednesday night, the Struthers community held a candlelight vigil to mark the anniversary.
“I’m always going to miss my Rowan. I’m always going to wish he was here with me,” said David Sweeney, Rowan’s dad.
There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd as David recounted how much he misses his son.
“The first year was just a nightmare. A disaster. You’re in pain, you’re suffering, you’re asking why,” David said.
In the two years since Rowan’s death, David says a lot has changed for him.
“We all can take something from this and that’s what we need to do and that’s what we are doing. But instead of sitting back and just remorse and complaining and being so sad about it, why not take all that and turn it into something positive?” David said.
His mission has been to keep his son’s memory alive by building Rowan’s Memorial Park at Boardman Township Park.
“I didn’t want Rowan to be forgotten. I didn’t want him to be just another statistic, another name you read about. This is my son. I’m his father. This is my duty to keep his name and memory alive and that’s what I’m going to do for the rest of my life,” David said.
David says the support from the community has helped keep him going.
“We’re always getting a new crowd of people, which is… it speaks volumes to Rowan’s character and who he all touched,” David said.