Latoya Stevens describes the moment she learned her younger brother, James Tomlinson, had been shot and killed outside a barber shop in southeast Rockford.
“I didn’t wanna believe it at first,” she says. “Cause I’m like, it couldn’t happen. He just pulled off from me in this same parking lot. So I didn’t believe it, I was just shocked.”
Stevens says she was extremely close with Tomlinson, a man she says was always cracking jokes.
“This went beyond my heart. This like, touched my soul a little bit. Cause that was my baby. I actually helped my mom raise him,” said Stevens.
Tomlinson’s shooting death is one of two fatal shootings to happen in Rockford this week. Despite that, Stevens says no one has come forward with information.
“Broad daylight. That’s how I know somebody seen something,” said Stevens. “There’s a nail salon right here, even [outside] the barber shop, there’s all these different houses.”
This is not the first time the family has been struck by tragedy. Tomlinson’s uncle, Anthony Stevens, is the father of Mark Barmore, the man shot and killed by a Rockford police officer in 2008.
Anthony says this time, he’s hoping for more closure.
“The public should come forward so we can get this taken care of,” said Anthony. “Or else it’s gonna keep happening again. Somebody knows something. So the community should just rally together and just say something.”
Both Anthony and Latoya say the community needs to rally together to help catch those responsible for the violence in Rockford.
“Cause they gonna keep doing this,” said Latoya. “[We keep] burying these little kids, because everybody’s not working together.”
“If they don’t come together, it’s gonna continue,” said Anthony. “They gonna get that phone call if people don’t come together and start helping the officers out, and start reporting what you see and hear.”
Police have not released any new information regarding a suspect in Tomlinson’s death.