Lincoln Heights Cold Case: What happened to Rickey Morris?

Twenty years later, Morris’ family says they still don’t know why they lost their loved one.
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 11:22 PM EDT
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LINCOLN HEIGHTS, Ohio (WXIX) - Nearly 20 years after the death of a local father, his relatives are calling for change and demanding answers.

According to the family of Rickey Morris, he was shot in the stomach along Jackson Street in Lincoln Heights on September 10, 2004.

“It was like seven o’clock in the morning, and I just remember getting on a bike, riding it up here,” Angel Smith, Morris’ fiancee, said. “And they were putting him on a stretcher when I got up here. And I couldn’t do nothing but just pray that he will be okay.”

Ultimately, Morris did not make it.

“We got in the ambulance with him, and he passed away before we even got to the hospital,” Smith said. “I heard him take his last breath, so it was hard.”

A brother, a son, and a father of six, Morris’ death his all of his loved ones incredibly hard.

“Rickey was about to be 30. He was turning 30 on the day he passed, so he actually passed on his birthday,” Patricia Morris, his sister, said.

Even now, some of Morris’ relatives live on Jackson Street, where they are often forced to confront the home that was then a crime scene.

“Since he’s been gone, our family has really been struggling. Rickey was the rock of our family, you know. Once 2004 hit, my mom was never the same,” Patricia said.

Morris’ mother Eleanor died without answers in 2021. His other family members are prepared to keep pushing - piecing together what they can about his death. That has led them to one theory that they believe is what most likely happened.

“I think it was an accident, and the person that did it must have been on parole or probation or something, and they couldn’t go forward with it because they would have got locked up being around a gun,” Patricia said.

Only hours before Morris died at the home, Patricia says there was an accidental shooting that happened at the same place Morris died.

Allegedly, the accidental shooting involved some of Morris’ friends.

“The friend’s mother lived in that building and got shot with a gun. The gun was supposed to be a trigger gun, which if you touch the gun, the gun was gonna automatically go off. So, I’m thinking this is the same gun that killed my brother,” Patricia said.

Believing that Morris’ life was not taken in an intentional act means believing some of his closest friends witnessed his death, but have stayed silent.

“That was the story that the gun, they were playing around with a gun, and he came in and the gun went off,” Smith said.

It is their hope that one day, they will find out exactly what happened to Morris. Until then, his memory stays with him, living on in their memories and through his children.

“We want to see justice at this point. It’s been just entirely too long for us to still not know what happened. It’s been so long. So we’re at the point, yes, we want justice,” Smith said.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office did not comment on the investigation.

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