LORAIN — A 38-year-old man’s death has been ruled a homicide after his body was found in his Lexington Avenue apartment Monday morning.
Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans said Jimmie Holland Jr., 38, died of a gunshot wound.
“It was an apparent homicide, and it’s currently under investigation,” Evans said.
Lorain police Lt. Ed Super said a friend visiting Holland’s second-floor apartment at 910 Lexington Ave. found Holland’s body shortly before 11 a.m.
Bystanders embrace Monday as police investigate outside the Lexington Avenue home where a Lorain man was found dead.
BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE Enlarge
Lorain police Capt. Roger Watkins said the apartment was in disarray when officers arrived. The friend who called police told 911 dispatchers that she met Holland at a bar and she would braid his hair.
She said the bottom door to the upstairs apartment was unlocked as usual, but the upstairs door was wide open and it would usually be locked. When she went inside, she found Holland bleeding in a bedroom and unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate him.
“I was so scared, I just got out of there,” she told dispatchers as she struggled to say exactly where Holland lived.
Cheryl Towner, who has two children with Holland and recently ended a 16-year relationship with him, stood outside her Lorain home Monday evening with friends and family. She was too distraught to talk about Holland beyond describing him as a good man and father.
Towner had recently been the victim of several burglaries in the last year, the most recent of which occurred Aug. 9. Several days after reporting the most recent burglary the tires of both Towner’s and Holland’s vehicles were slashed.
Jimmie Holland Jr.
“I’m scared the same people are targeting me,” Towner said as she cried into the shoulder of a friend.
Brothers Greg and Bill Gallovich, who live in an apartment beneath Holland, said they didn’t hear any gunshots or commotion Monday morning.
The brothers described Holland as a good neighbor who had lived in the apartment for about a year. They said Holland mostly kept to himself and worked nights, but the interactions the pair had with him were pleasant and friendly.
Holland would share food with the brothers, bringing down macaroni and cheese, potato salad and chicken, and he didn’t make a big issue of his tires being slashed several weeks ago. Bill Gallovich said Holland was a gentle man.
“He was friendly all the way around,” he said. “He was a big guy, but gentle and well-spoken. I don’t know if there was any hanky-panky going on in his life, but he treated us good.”
Jerry Hatcher, Holland’s landlord who lived in the same building, described Holland as the “ideal tenant” who always paid rent on time and didn’t cause problems or make noise.
“I don’t know what happened,” Hatcher said. “It was a shock to me when they found him. He didn’t bother nobody, didn’t have a lot of company and was easy to get along with.”
The city is now at seven homicides for 2016 — the highest since 2009. Arrests have not been made in two of the cases.
Police are still seeking information and offering a $15,000 reward for tips that lead to an arrest in the Aug. 14 slaying of Robert Gnizak at the Taco Bell on Oberlin Avenue.
Police have said Gnizak, 49, of Lorain, was a passenger in a car at the drive-thru when a man approached the vehicle from the passenger side and tried to rob Gnizak and a female friend before fatally shooting Gnizak.
The suspect, who is considered armed and dangerous, was described as a black male with a thin to medium build, standing about 6 feet tall, wearing a yellow or tan shirt with tan or khaki pants and wearing a tan baseball cap.
Those with information are being asked to call (440) 204-2100 or (440) 204-2105.
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