ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A Rockford man, who became the city’s 17th murder victim this year, is being remembered by those whose lives he impacted.
Robert Wash, 40, was found shot outside a Harrison Avenue apartment on Tuesday.
He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Wash was known to many as local rapper “Pair A Dice.”
“Everybody loved him,” said his uncle, Houston Sterling, Jr. “He was pretty famous here in Rockford. I see all the posts and that makes me know just how much they loved him.”
Many who knew Wash say his death is hard for them to process.
“It hits a lot different,” said Tony Evans, who was friends with Wash for over 25 years. “It doesn’t make sense to people and they don’t understand how something like this can happen, and right now, I think the entire city is trying to process that.”
Musician Demorris Flannigan added, “For him to be such a positive person and us not to know what happened, everybody is in limbo. I think a lot of people are looking for those words to say to the family, or to say to theyself [sic] because we don’t know what happened yet.”
Known for his love of Rockford’s South side, Wash frequently spoke out about the violence he saw in his community.
“Somebody that needed to hear what he was saying did exactly the opposite of what he was telling people to do,” said longtime friend, Trevor Hembrough.
Those who grew up with Wash say he always wanted to perform, and regard him as a music legend, not only for his verses, but for his charisma.
“As we started doing events here in town within the last few years, he would actually make mention of the fact that we would talk about these things as kids, and brought it to fruition as adults,” childhood friend Antwon George said. “So, I think that was special to both of us.”
Rockford musician Harlan Jefferson said, “It’s just, his thought process grew, based on his surrounding and things he’s seen, growing up from a child to an adult. But, he was probably, definitely one of the best in the world. He just happened to live in Rockford and was trying to break through.”
Duntai Mathews, who knew Wash for 30 years, said, “I think Pair A Dice was a preacher in his own, in his own artistry, and he really didn’t realize that his words really penetrated through the city and the communities.”