It's been less than two months since someone shot and killed James Brock. Unfortunately, those two months have not been kind to the investigation. Police have run into a very common roadblock, a lack of community involvement. Both the police and his family are hoping the community can tear down that roadblock.
It was in the early morning hours of May 18th, and a familiar scene was taking place up in Zion City. 57-year-old James Brock was leaving his home for a one and a half mile round trip walk.
"Around 1:00 a.m., Mr. Brock left his home to go to a nearby convenience store on Plank, for a pack of cigarettes," says Detective Robert Schilling.
According to Alpha Jones, his common law wife of 22 years, it was a walk he made almost every night. She believes someone knew that.
"I think somebody knew his routine, every night at that time," she says. "Knew where he'd be at that time."
It appears that Mr. Brock made it to the convenience store, but he never made it back home. Schilling says, "A witness drove down Cadillac at about 1:30, he was not in the roadway then. This same witness returned at about ten until 2:00 and found Mr. Brock in the roadway."
They found him on Cadillac Street near the Plank Road intersection. Police say he was shot twice in the back. A 57-year-old man, small in stature, not very quick on his feet... but apparently a big enough threat to shoot him in his back? Doesn't make much sense, and police don't understand it either. Alpha Jones says it's a very heartbreaking sign of the times.
"You be scared to walk the street at night, got to keep your doors locked. It's not like it used to be, used to be safe. You used to be able to leave your keys in the door, can't do that anymore. Things have gotten bad out here."
Alpha Jones has five kids and 12 grandkids. She says James treated them like they were his own. "He did more for my children and grandchildren than their real daddy and biological grandfather."
That's the man you took from the community, someone who cared enough to help raise kids that weren't even his.
Detective Schilling says, "We think that the information to solve this crime is right here in the Zion City area. We would just like people to come forward and help themselves out. It's time to stop this, they need to help themselves out, we're the tool to do it with."
And so we find ourselves at that all too familiar roadblock. Is it fear of being known that stops people from getting involved? Or is it apathy? If it's the former, don't worry, your call to Crime Stoppers is 100 percent anonymous. If it's the latter, then things will get much worse before they get better. If you want change, you have to change it.
You can reach Crime Stoppers at 344-STOP. You could also be eligible for a reward of up to 1,000 dollars.