Mother: Son killed in Walmart shooting just learned he was going to be a father

Adam Black was realizing his dream of becoming a father and husband and in April had just moved to Hamilton from Columbus.

But on the night of May 26, that dream and his life ended when he was shot and killed by a gunman fleeing after a botched robbery at the Walmart in Fairfield Twp.

“He had just gotten engaged and was planning to be married. And a week before this he found out he was going to be a father. It has been horribly devastating,” said Shirley Black Damron, Adam’s mother. “I was so happy for him because he wanted more than anything to be a father and he was getting older. His dream came true when he found out his fiancée was pregnant.”

Black, 35, was shopping for items to furnish his new house when a suspect began running in the Princeton Road store after attempting to steal cellphones in the electronics department, according to police and prosecutors.

Damron said her son was employed by a security company as a security guard at an area plant. He tried to stop the suspect after a store employee was unsuccessful. The suspect pulled out a gun and shot Black in the head, she said.

“I am just broken. He worked so hard to get to this point and when he gets there, his life was just callously taken away,” the Sandusky, Ohio, resident said.

Damron has no doubt that her son’s security training was part of his decision to intervene.

“Adam truly loved life, he loved people, he dearly loved his two dogs, Shadow and Midnight. He loved horses and fishing and his family, but he was always willing to help anyone who needed it. He stood up for people,” she said. “And he, like myself and many others, was so sick of how badly our government and criminal justice system had failed our whole country. And now he has become a statistic.”

Damron said Black was the middle of three sons and her “go to kid.”

“It has shredded my whole heart, I am just lost now,” she said, adding her oldest son lives in Canada. “We were all just so close.”

It was in her son’s nature to help when help is needed and Damron said his actions likely saved other lives.

“He is a hero,” she said. “That was his instinct to try help them. To help Walmart.”

Anthony Brown, 32, of Hamilton, was arrested a short time after the double shooting that killed Black and injured store employee Eric Ruff, 57, of Fairfield.

Brown is held on a $5 million bond and is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, having weapons under disability and is waiting this week for either a preliminary hearing or for his case to be presented directly to a Butler County grand jury. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The accused left in a car driven by his father that was stopped in Hamilton, but Brown was not inside, according to Fairfield Twp. Police. He was arrested several hours later at a Middletown hotel after a SWAT search of the complex.

Damron said she is praying daily for the other man injured and she plans to be present for every step of Brown’s court case.

“I hope to God the coward that took my son’s life never sees the light of day. I don’t want him to see the light of day again, I really don’t. I hope he rots in jail and never forgets my son.”

At the time of the Walmart incident, Brown was free on a $200,000 bond and awaiting trial for an aggravated robbery with a gun committed on Oct. 23, 2021, according to court records.

The Hamilton Police report said in the Oct. 23 incident, Brown allegedly robbed an employee at gunpoint at Minnick’s Drive Thru on Dixie Highway, taking cash and lottery tickets.

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