Child witnessed homicide, family desperate for answers


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The Birmingham Police Department is still looking for three suspects in a homicide that happened on 31st Avenue North in August. Not only did they lose a loved one, but a child in the home witnessed the shooting.

“It’s hard for me to watch my grandkids be without their father because that was the person who they were around all the time,” said Roger Cheatham.

Cheatham is still struggling to come to terms with the death of his son who shares his name.

“The day of the murder, me and him was working on a car. We fixed the car and I brought him back here and the next thing you know I get a call 10 o’clock at night that he had been shot,” said Cheatham.

Birmingham Police Detective Joylyn Craig said his son, 31-year-old Roger Cheatham, was home with his three children and a neighbor when three masked men came through the door of his apartment.

“They shot Mr. Cheatham and shot the neighbor. The neighbor survived. Mr. Cheatham didn’t survive. He died at the hospital,” said Craig.

The three children were asleep when it all started, but Cheatham’s teenage son witnessed the shooting.

“He woke up to commotion, saw dad kind of tussling with the guy and next thing you know it was shots fired,” Craig explained.

“They traumatized and messed up all our family’s lives, especially the children,” said Jessica Starkes, the victim’s sister.

It’s been five months now and the family is still desperate for answers.

“Pain right now? You can’t even start to talk about the pain,” said Roderick Smith, the victim’s cousin.

“You sleep next to somebody every night and wake up with somebody every morning. It’s still kind of hard to handle that,” said Brittney Holloman, the victim’s fiancee.

Detective Craig said they believe the three suspects left the scene in a purple Nissan Altima. And they believe someone can tell them exactly who they are.

“You don’t have to leave no name, no number. Put it on Facebook like you do everything else and just leave it there. I’m sure the detective on it will find it,” said Roderick Smith.

“I miss him so much. He was my only sibling. And it’s hard being by myself,” said Starks.

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