A 55 year old man collecting signatures for local control of the St. Louis Police Department is dead. He was shot ten times with those petitions still in his possession.
He had been circulating petitions to, in the eyes of many, improve the St. Louis police department. But now Darryl Winston, of north St. Louis is dead after being shot ten times just blocks from his home. Petitions for Safer Missouri’s local control initiative were in his possession when he died.
The shooting happened about 9pm Wednesday in an alley just off of Carter. Neighbors, who didn’t want to be identified, say there was a hail of gunfire. Several people rushed to Winston’s aid, and thought he was already dead when they got there. But they say his legs began moving, and EMS rushed him to the hospital.
Neighborhood political activists say shootings are all too common here, and the fact someone trying to do some good was killed is all the more unsettling.
“It’s not good. Looks bad on the neighborhood and it looks bad on the community,” Democratic committeeman Kerry Wilson said.
The petition Winston had been circulating is aimed at putting the local control issue on the November ballot. A vote in favor would bring control of the St. Louis police back to the city from Jefferson City for the first time since the Civil War. The city’s police officer’s union is supporting the measure.
“It’s our understanding the gentleman was not engaged in collecting signatures at that time,” union business manager Jeff Roorda said. “But as is always the case when one of our citizens gets shot or killed, we’re concerned and our heart goes out to the family.”
The fact that a man doing work that would seemingly improve the police department died in a violent crime carries an irony that isn’t lost on anyone.
“We want St. Louis to be a safer place and we believe if we’re all working together, city hall, the police department, and the rank and file, it becomes a safer place and it’s more of a paradox than an irony,” Roorda told us.
Wilson said, “We need more cops, one way or the other and local control would more likely, in my opinion, have a direct effect on that.”
The motive in the shooting appears to be a simple street robbery. At this point police have no suspects.
Winston`s family delivered pleas for people to help find his killer on Fox 2 News, Wednesday night.
"Uncle Darryl," his smiling 2 year old nephew tried to say in Winston`s front yard Wednesday night. The boy could not grasp of what happened a few blocks from his uncle`s house.
The litter of police markers where the shells from the killer`s bullets fell, gave an idea of the terrible death Winston suffered, shot repeatedly in his torso and lower extremities, police said.
"Uncle Darryl," the little boy struggled to say again. "Uncle Darryl, yeah," said the boy`s grandma, Anita Keely, who was holding the little one.
"For him to go out the way he did, it`s just sad. One thing I can say about him is he loved his family. He loved his nieces, nephews," said his niece, Ramonica Keely.
Winston had been looking forward to his big brother Walter`s wedding to Anita Keely, Sunday.
His niece, Charlene Bratton, remembered talking to him on the phone when she was at the mall a couple of hours before the shooting.
"He told me to bring shirt back for him for the wedding. And that was the last time I heard from him, even talked to him," she said.
"After the wedding Sunday, it`s turning out to be a funeral. He was looking forward to this wedding. That`s all we talked about: `this wedding, this wedding`," Anita Keely said.
"I hope this person or persons is caught and is punished. For the people who saw this happen, just think, the same thing could happen to your family, to your loved ones," Walter Winston said.
The Safer Missouri Citizen`s Coaltion released a statement Wednesday saying, 'We are deeply saddened by this violence and this tragic event reaffirms the importance of working with police on a local level in order to make our streets safer.'
"My brother, he knew he wanted to do positive things. If it meant having people sign petitions for the police department, that`s what he`d done," his brother, Walter said. "The person or persons that killed him are going to be punished. Someday, somewhere, they`re going to be punished."
"Please, hope that somebody comes forward, and get this load of out chest. Whoever it is, please come and tell us what happened," Anita Keely said.