Vigil held for murdered Hartwell restaurant owner

HARTWELL, OH (FOX19) - The front steps of Cosmic Pizza in Hartwell now serve as a makeshift memorial for the owner, Richard Evans, who was murdered there over the weekend.

Evans' murder has shaken the neighborhood and some folks are just plain scared.

While police are tracking down Evans' killer, residents of Hartwell are trying to cope with the loss of someone known as a nice guy and was neighborhood oriented.

An impromptu vigil was held this morning outside of Evans' Cosmic Pizza shop where friends, like Mike Madison, talked about the impact the murder is having on the community.

"This is definitely very sad and very tragic," said Madison.

Madison was among several people who gathered in front of Cosmic Pizza to remember Evans, who was gunned down Saturday night during an attempted robbery.  Madison says he and his wife arrived at the pizza shop moments after the shooting.

"My wife was able to make the 911 call and I was able to provide him with a little bit of assistance there and other members of the community here on the street were able to take the children away."

Madison says Evans' young children were also inside the pizza shop  during the attempted robbery, but despite the murder Madison says Hartwell is safe.

"We think that Hartwell is a great community that's why we live here and things like this happen. I don't know why they happen, I don't know why this was targeted or picked. I have no idea, but we believe in Hartwell.  It's a great place to live."

Another Hartwell resident, who identified himself only as Dave, says it was just another senseless killing.

"The worker tried to be a hero and save his business or whatever and he ended up dead, you know so for this area it's still a nice area to live," explains Dave. "I live near here. It's just tragedy again in the city of Cincinnati."

With Evans' killer still on the loose, Cincinnati police Captain Mike Neville was asked if Hartwell residents should be worried.

"I don't know, it's not good. I stand here and tell you it's not good," said Neville. "I'm not going to sugar coat it, but we'll confront this investigation and try to get this individual off the streets as soon as we can so everybody can be at rest, businesses and resident, I promise you that."

FOX19 talked to a woman who lives near Cosmic Pizza and she says Hartwell used to be a safe place to live and she could ride her bike through the neighborhood without worry. Now, she says her daughter is absolutely not allowed outside without adult supervision.

The suspect is described as a black man in his 20's or early 30's, weighing 240-250 pounds wearing dark clothes and driving a red, small crossover.

Anyone with information is urged to call CrimesStoppers at 513-352-3040.

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