The ’94 Mustang convertible — in red, white, and black — represented so much between Cethus Manning II and his father.
It was where they took long rides together, and where the son asked his father about life. As he grew up, the two worked on the car together. They had plans to fix it up once more.
“When he was born, his first pair of shoes was some Jordans. It was the same color as the car. I had them hanging on the mirror,” the elder Mr. Manning said.
Mr. Manning, 63, recalled it as one of many experiences he would no longer share with his son.
Thirty friends and family members gathered Tuesday at Historic Woodlawn Cemetery. They wrote messages of support on balloons before releasing them. It would have been the younger Mr. Manning’s 20th birthday.
Instead, he was 19 when he was shot inside a car during the early morning hours of Feb. 21 in the 100 block of Everett Street. The murder remains unsolved.
As a father, Mr. Manning said the past six months have been difficult. He lost a closeness that cannot be replicated.
“I’ve got memories, but memories can never replace a touch, hearing his voice, and being around him completely. He was like a gift from heaven to me that got yanked out of my arms,” Mr. Manning said.
His son was inquisitive and had a passion for helping others, he said.
Killings in the city are a “horrific, gut-wrenching circumstance” for loved ones. Events like this can hopefully deter a violent gunman from killing, Mr. Manning said.
“We have anger in our hearts and minds, when it should be like, ‘what can we do to help?’ ” Mr. Manning said.
A killer stole the young man’s life from his family, said his mother, Glenda Manning, 59. She described her son as a kind person who was close to graduating from Penta Career Center. She added she was moved by the large turnout at the cemetery on Tuesday.
“This touches my soul,” Mrs. Manning said.
Family members urged anyone with information in the unsolved case to come forward. Without an arrest, they lack closure, his parents said.
The family has established a GoFundMe account to raise reward money for the case. Donors have contributed more than $800.
Capt. Joe Heffernan, police spokesman, said there are still no firm leads in the investigation.
Tipsters can call the Crime Stopper program at 419-255-1111. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.
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