Family and friends say Ferguson man gunned down had big goals and a big heart

CLAYTON, MO (KPLR) - The family and friends of a Ferguson man gunned down over the weekend in Kinloch says Jorell Cleveland had big goals for his future and an even bigger heart to help anyone in need.

“He was the little brother who would irk your soul” said Jorell’s older sister, Ibriana Cleveland.  “He was funny, always wanted to knit-pick with you and get on your nerves… but he was loving, caring, over protective.  He thought he was my big brother” she said.

Cleveland was shot and killed Saturday while walking near Jefferson and Courtney in Kinloch.  For his family, it’s shooting that hits too close to home.

“I always get angry with the violence that goes on” said Cleveland.  “But for it to be my little brother- it hits home, it hurts my heart that I had to see my little brother laid out like that”.

Cherie Aden was Jorell Cleveland’s girlfriend and says Jorell gave here more than a relationship, but a sense of purpose.

“He used to always talk about how bad he wanted to graduate and now he can never walk across the stage” Aden said.  “But it’s okay I keep saying that when I walk across the stage it’s going to be for both of us” she said.

Ben Westhoff was Jorell’s mentor through Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri for the past 11 years.  Westhoff wrote an obituary in the Riverfront Times, entitled ‘RIP Jorell Cleveland, My Little Brother’ in hopes of giving a face, a name and a life to the many innocent victims of violence.

“People are murdered and there might be a short little headline about it- if that- and then nobody talks about it again” Westhoff said.  “His life was so special and he was such a great guy, I really wanted to share my experiences with him”

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri released a statement today reading in part, “Jorell is loved as a son, as a brother and as a Little Brother.  We must do everything in our power to be sure he is remembered and that young people are afforded a chance to live a fruitful life".

The family has set up a page to help with funeral costs.  A link to that page can be found here.