As Tonia Foster-Turner followed news of a shooting on Interstate 75 last week, she was just an interested member of the community.
But that changed.
“I had no idea it could be my father,” she said.
James L. Brown, who lived in Dayton and was active with his wife in Middletown’s Faith United Church, was shot and killed on July 27 near the Austin Landing exit on I-75.
Witness who called 911 reported the shooting as a drive-by with a vehicle pulling up and a person shooting out of the back into Brown’s vehicle.
Today, services for the the 64-year-old father, grandfather and great-grandfather will be held at the Baltimore Street Church where he was always lending a helping hand.
Brown had been married to his wife, Evelyn, for more than 30 years, according to Foster-Turner, who lives in Middletown. Evelyn works in Franklin, and James ran JB’s One of Kind Collectibles at Trader’s World in Monroe on the weekends.
During the week, Brown scoured garage sales and thrift stores in the region looking for rare toys, antiques and collectibles to sell in his booth. His favorite was Star Wars memorabilia.
“His task that day was to get the tire on my mother’s car fixed,” Foster-Turner said. “And usually on Mondays he would go to thrift stores and he would come to Middletown and around this area.”
Foster-Turner said in the past couple years, Brown had been mentoring his 12-year-old great-grandson in the business.
“It was so good for him, his first job. He felt like a little business man. Thought he would maybe take over the business some day, never dreamed it would be like this,” she said.
Brown’s daughter and Faith United Church Pastor Michael Bailey remembered him for his generous heart and big smile.
“He was a man who wanted to help. Very community minded, always willing to get in with the rest of us,” Bailey said.
Foster-Turner said her father was a hands-on, loving family man.
“I will remember his smile, hugs and kisses,” she said. “If I was on the phone with my mother, you could hear him in the background saying, ‘Tell my baby I love her.’”
Foster-Turner is hoping the case continues to get attention from the community, as police are continuing to seek help finding the suspects.
“Police are asking for people to contact them if they have information, but I am concerned people are not watching because they are tired of hearing about COVID and may not even know about it.” she said.
Miami Twp. police are requesting anyone with information about the incident call Detective Shawn Todd at 937-531-4065. They have also asked any truckers with dash cameras who were in the area during the shooting to reach out to them.
“We are going to trust the process … I believe they are going to find out what happened, who did this, I really do,” Bailey said. “But you have just got to be patient and let police do their do diligence.”
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