“I lost my father, my friend and I miss talking to him,” John Kelly said.
ST. LOUIS – “I look at him. I say a little prayer, but I miss him,” John Kelly said as tears filled his eyes.
A heartbroken Kelly cries every time he looks at a memorial outside his father’s real estate office on North 25th Street near Bremen, north of St. Louis.
This is where Michael Kelly, 72, was shot and killed about three months ago.
“I love him. I’m sorry this happened. I miss talking to him and having this experience. It’s tough and Father’s Day is right around the corner,” Kelly said.
According to the charging documents, on March 8, Michael Kelly pulled over in his van and parked outside his office in the Hyde Park area.
Police say surveillance video shows Kelly sitting in his truck when a man, later identified as 27-year-old James Cody Jr., followed Kelly, jumped out of a gray car and shot Many times.
“To my knowledge, there were maybe 22 shots,” recalls the man’s son.
The longtime owner, who lived in St. Ann, was shot in the face, crashed his truck into his business and died. The bullets also hit his real estate business.
Nearly three months after the fatal shooting, black tire tracks can also be seen on the sidewalk where Kelly crashed.
“It’s just amazing. I spoke to my dad about 40 minutes before all of this happened. He was in good spirits. I came straight here while his truck was still in the building,” said Kelly.
The devastated son could not believe his father had lost his life in the very neighborhood where, for three decades, he had built and rehabilitated homes, especially for low-income residents.
“It was his everyday passion to help people and give them places to live,” John Kelly sobbed.
“Yes, I was here that day and heard those gunshots. So sad,” said a neighbor who lives in the northern neighborhood. “He was a very hardworking and contented guy. He loved what he was doing.”
On Thursday, a grand jury charged Cody with first-degree murder and felony armed felony. He will be back in court for a hearing on June 13.
At that time, Michael Kelly’s family and friends should know what will happen next in the case.
“I understand the grand jury wants to give him a life sentence without parole, and that’s fine with me. I want justice to prevail. I lost my father, my friend,” John Kelly said.
Kelly said the suspect was the boyfriend of one of her father’s former tenants.
So far, the police have not said anything about the motive for the crime.