A Tough Couple of Months for Homeless People

       Over the last two months homeless people have died with increasing frequency.  Two homicides, an alleged suicide, and an apparent accidental death have many on the streets worried.

             Edwin Mootoo was allegedly killed in the Flats in the middle of April 2000.  Reportedly, he had a fight with another homeless individual who pushed him into the Cuyahoga River near Settler’s Landing.  He stayed in the St. Malachi-Stella Marris area, and his memorial service was celebrated at St. Malachi on April 24.  Police do have an individual in custody who they believe is responsible for Mootoo’s death.  The 42-year-old suspect has a bond hearing for $250.000.

             The family included this piece, which a number of homeless asked to be reprinted in The Homeless grapevine:

             Edwin Mootoo was born on October 11, 1953 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, the only begotten son of the late Tamby Mooto and eldest son of Rosie Callis.

             Edwin migrated to America in 1969.  He attended and graduated from John Adams High School.  Edwin was employed by the S.H. Shipping Company.

             Edwin was affectionately called by several names, but was best known as “Eddie” and “Moo.”  He was a loving and very happy man.  Edwin’s compassion for human life was overwhelming with love.  He knew no strangers.  Edwin enjoyed being around people, but his greatest joy was his family and friends.  He would give and even when he had nothing to give, he gave of himself.

             One of Edwin’s favorite sayings to his siblings was, “Ma, I love her and she still your mother.”  The love that he had was for his mother-the fruit of the spirit is LOVE.

             He leaves to cherish his memory:  his parents, Edwin and Rosie Callis; four sisters, Barbara Mootoo, and a host of other relatives and many loving and caring friends.

             On April 17 Ralph Keeney Jr., was found crushed to death at the City of Cleveland Recycling Recovery Center.  Apparently, Keeney fell asleep in a dumpster and was picked up by the collection truck and died from injuries received in the compacting process.  There is no official determination that is an accidental death, but the police are leaning in that direction.

             Roland “Leroy” Blevins was struck with glass bottles on the head and killed when a blood clot developed in his brain.  The coroner’s office ruled this a homicide, but police did not have credible evidence by which to indict the suspects of the crim.  According to the police a man was arrested, but the Grand Jury did not return with an indictment. 

             In the early hours of April 25, Jermaine Irizary fell from the Lorain Carnegie Bridge into the gravel yard below.  The coroner has a tentative ruling of suicide.  Irizary was found by workers who thought that he was sleeping.

             Dr. Steve Friedman, executive director of Mental Health Services, said that he has not seen a large number of homeless people who commit suicide.  “This is not something that has come to my attention with any regularity.  Typically, people with a mental illness are at a higher risk of suicide.”

 Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue # 42 published in Cleveland May 2000