Two Of Rhonia Green's Sons Have Been Shot To Death, One In 2003, Another This Week.
By STEVEN GOODE, Courant Staff Writer
December 29, 2007
When Oshane Green headed out the door Christmas night, his mother repeated her familiar precaution.
"I said, 'Remember Oshane, be careful, it's a holiday,' " Rhonia Green recalled Friday as she sat on a couch in her Bloomfield living room.
Her words proved sadly prophetic. The youngest of her four sons, 18-year-old Oshane, died early Wednesday morning at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, shot twice in the chest after a momentary altercation with a stranger in a grungy takeout joint on North Main Street.
Her last words to her son had been spoken from the heart, from hard experience. Rhonia Green had lost another son to gun violence in Hartford on Labor Day weekend in 2003, when Nahshon Cohen, 22, was shot in the head on Charlotte Street as he sat in his car, the victim of an apparent robbery.
"Nahshon's [loss] didn't leave yet," Rhonia Green said softly Friday. "That morning I was looking at his picture and crying. That's why I don't celebrate Christmas. I don't celebrate no more holidays."
Rhonia Green's stepson, 25-year-old Leon Green, was with his half-brother Oshane and two other men at Paul's Ranch House Christmas night. He was seriously wounded when an unidentified man opened fire inside the restaurant, seriously wounding Leon and a third man, Wayne Bailey, 29, who was shot in the leg.
As Rhonia Green sat Friday with friends and family members, talking about the need to get guns off the streets and implement swifter, harsher penalties for violent criminals, Leon Green staggered through the door, hunched to one side, struggling to walk. He had just been released from Hartford Hospital.
Outfitted with a cast to cover an arm broken by a bullet that entered his side and lodged near his spine, Leon Green grimaced in pain as he recounted Tuesday night's deadly incident.
Oshane was at the counter waiting for a hot dog when a man turned to leave and bumped into him. Oshane, Leon said, took offense to the encounter, and made a remark to the man.
"I was telling [Oshane] to chill, but he wouldn't listen," Leon Green said.
Then Oshane shoved the man.
"The guy didn't say nothing. He just stepped back, pulled the gun and shot him twice at close range," Leon Green said. "It was like he just started buggin'."
The suspect then shot Bailey as a fourth man who was with them ran out the door, Leon Green said.
The suspect then shot Leon Green as he tried to pick up Oshane, who was struggling to get up and slipping on his own blood on the floor.
"It was gushing and I went out," Leon Green said, referring to his own gunshot wound.
Leon Green managed to get to a car, which he said he crashed into an ambulance as he attempted to drive to St. Francis. He acknowledged Friday that he had survived two previous shootings.
Police found Bailey a short time later walking on Garden Street. He was treated and released from St. Francis.
Emergency personnel transported Oshane Green to St. Francis, where he died about 2:20 a.m.
Rhonia Green said she got the news from a nurse at the hospital.
"She told me 'he didn't make it,' just like that," Rhonia Green said.
"Ten years ago, that would have been a fist fight," Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts said Friday. "Now people think nothing of pulling a gun and shooting someone."
A vigil organized by Mothers United Against Violence is scheduled for today at 4 p.m. in front of Paul's Ranch House at 3281 Main St.
Rhonia Green said she plans to attend and to encourage someone to come forward and identify the suspect, who is described by police as a balding, 35-year-old Hispanic man, about 5 feet 6, with a scruffy chin-strap beard. Employees of the restaurant have not been cooperative, said police, who have released a videotape of the incident recorded by a surveillance camera.
"If they know who it is, call the police, come forward please," Rhonia Green said. "I'm begging."
As uncertain as she is about the identity of her youngest son's killer, Rhonia Green takes some comfort in knowing that the fate of the man charged with killing Nahshon for his car and some jewelry now hangs in the balance.
Lazale Ashby has been convicted of raping and murdering 21-year-old Elizabeth Garcia in December 2002 in her Zion Street apartment. The Superior Court jury that found him guilty in June is now hearing additional evidence as it decides whether to recommend life in prison or the death penalty for Ashby.
On Friday, Rhonia Green offered to save the jury some time.
"If I could kill him myself I would do it," she said. "I wish they would let me do it."
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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