Police identified a 20-year-old man who was shot to death in the Corky Row section of the city Wednesday night as Eric Sullivan.
By Jay Pateakos
GateHouse News Service
Posted Oct 30, 2008 @ 11:20 AM
Last update Oct 30, 2008 @ 07:05 PM
Fall River -
More than three years after four alleged crack dealers were gunned down in the former Larry's Sports Pub in Corky Row, 20-year-old Eric "Roz" Sullivan was shot and killed Wednesday night across the street from the now-boarded-up bar.
Police were called around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to the area of Fifth and Morgan streets, where they found Sullivan with a single gunshot wound that witnesses said was in the area of his abdomen. Sullivan, of 411 Fourth St., was found afterward inside the hallway of 263 Morgan St. He was transported to Rhode Island Hospital and subsequently died. His death marks the third homicide in the city this year.
Sullivan's foster sister, Kendra Anderson, said police had already been to her home throughout Thursday morning and the family, who helped raise Sullivan since he was 15, were in shock. Anderson said they were his only family and that Sullivan's biological mother was dead and his father was in jail.
"He was a good kid. He had a job at Comcast. He had his own apartment and he always paid his bills on time. I saw him just yesterday driving up Rodman Street and he said, 'Take it easy Kendra,'" she said. "He was going to be 21 in December, and he was looking forward to it."
His birthday plans were already under way to rent a bar so that everyone would be together to celebrate.
Yhonna Barnes, a resident of Fifth Street, said she heard the gun go off Wednesday and mistook it for someone breaking glass outside, as if someone broke into a car. After being shot, Barnes said, Sullivan was seen banging on a number of doors along Fifth Street before he ended up in the hallway at 263 Morgan St.
"This was a jealousy shooting. It wasn't a robbery," said Barnes.
Witnesses said Sullivan's cell phone and a bag of marijuana were found at the scene, but no blood, which in not uncommon with abdominal wounds.
"When the ambulance came and he was put in the stretcher, his arms just fell down, and I believe he died right there," Barnes added
She admitted that her neighborhood doesn't have the best reputation, but said things have been very quiet there for the many months leading up to this shooting.
"I was surprised when the summer came and went and there were no shootings," Barnes said.
Sullivan had a lengthy rap sheet in Fall River District Court, including possession of Class D drug, resisting arrest, vandalizing property, armed assault to murder, receiving a stolen motor vehicle and possession of alcohol by a minor, but most of the charges were dismissed, according to court records. Sullivan did serve one six-month term in the Bristol County House of Correction for a conviction on a third possession charge.
Valerie Strollo, a friend of Sullivan, said acquaintances doubted he was involved in any gang-type activity but were not certain. He had a good job and many friends, she said.
"This is a shame, something so cowardly, and it's getting to the point that people can't go outside without being shot," said Strollo. "He was the kind of person that could make everyone laugh no matter how bad of a mood you are in. He came through for people. I hope they catch whoever did this, and that it's not another Fall River unsolved homicide. I don't want someone to think it's OK to take the life of a 20-year-old for nothing."
None of his friends or family members knew what he was doing near Larry's Sports Bar Wednesday night.
Sullivan's foster mother, Donna Anderson, said what Sullivan may have lacked in the common-sense category, he made up for in pure intellect and kindness.
"The boy was genius, a highly intelligent person. I am a former English teacher, and Eric wrote a book that could have easily been published. He was a respectful person and only asked people to respect him back," his foster mother said. "He always had his private side that nobody knew about, but he was always friendly and respectful."
"He always talked to me about doing the right thing," said Sullivan's younger foster sister, Kelsey, fighting back tears. "He told me the other day that I knew him better than he knew himself. We had a very strong brother/sister relationship."
Donna Anderson, 56, grew up in Corky Row and remembers when life there was different.
"That was the cleanest, most decent neighborhood in the city, where you never heard of guns or knives. And nothing went on like what is going on today," she said. "When you got in trouble in that neighborhood, and you were seven homes away from your house, all the adults would be outside telling you were in trouble before you got home."
Although detectives spent considerable time at the Anderson home and confirmed Sullivan's death, many of his family and friends were still in shock throughout the day Thursday, expecting him to drive up any minute.
"Until I see him in the casket, I just can't believe he's gone," said Kendra Anderson.
Police continue to search for the shooter. Anyone with information regarding the homicide is urged to contact Fall River Police at 508-676-8511, call the district attorney's tip line at 1-866-SOLVE-07 or e-mail [email protected].