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Deadly daylight shooting of Cincinnati man was random, police say

The victim’s sister says police told her the suspect has a mental illness. “He knew what he was doing,” she counters.
Published: Jun. 11, 2021 at 9:21 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) -The deadly shooting of 49-year-old Randy Billings in broad daylight last week was a random act perpetrated by a man with mental health ailments, according to Cincinnati police.

Billings was walking down Marshall Avenue in the CUF neighborhood on June 3 around 1:16 p.m. when Javonte Smith, 23, shot him.

Billings and Smith did not know each other beforehand, according to both police and Billings’ family.

The 49-year-old was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, his family says, and the act of violence that killed him was as random as it was heartbreaking.

Bridget Swint, Billings’ sister, found out about her brother’s death from a CPD detective. “He let his head down, and he looked back up at me,” she recalled of the front-door encounter, “and said, ‘Your brother’s dead.’”

It was a shocking revelation for Swint, but not an unfamiliar one. She lost her son 13 years ago in a homicide case that remains unsolved. Now she says there’s only so much grief a family can take.

“It’s just an unfortunate situation,” said Lanae Billings Parker, Billings’ neice. “I’m angry, and I haven’t been able to let go of that anger since.”

Swint describes Billings as someone who mostly kept to himself.

“He talked a lot, had a lot of friends, knew a lot about basketball,” she said. “But he didn’t bother nobody, and I just couldn’t understand, why did this person kill my brother for nothing.”

Swint explains she spoke to a witness who said Smith came out of nowhere before walking behind the victim.

“He said the dude just started shooting. That was before he shot my brother. And then [the witness] said [Smith] turned around, and all he did was pow, pow, pow, pow, and just started shooting my brother,” Swint said.

Swint says the detective in the case told her Smith suffers from mental illness.

“He wasn’t that mental,” she maintains. “He knew what he was doing. He killed somebody the week before and did the same thing.”

Speaking rhetorically to Smith, Swint continued: “You knew how to hold that gun. You knew to have a gun. You know what guns do to people. So you ain’t that mental.”

Court documents show Smith is charged with four counts of murder and four counts of felonious assault. He was given a cash bond of $1 million.

The Homicide Unit is investigating.

Anyone with information is urged to contact CPD at 513.765.1212 or CrimeStoppers at 513.352.3040.

Javonte Smith
Javonte Smith

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