Church leaders: Lean on loved ones in wake of tragedy

Published: Sunday, July 22, 2012 @ 8:02 PM
Updated: Sunday, July 22, 2012 @ 8:02 PM

Area church leaders on Sunday said the best way to deal with a tragedy like Friday’s shooting at a movie theater in Colorado which claimed the life of Springfield native Matt McQuinn is to spend time with loved ones and remember that God has a plan for our lives.

“There’s no better a reminder than an incident like this that life is short,” said Fellowship Church youth and campus pastor Jeremy Hudson, who developed a friendship with McQuinn while they were both members at Maiden Lane Church of God.

McQuinn, a Vandalia Butler High School graduate, his girlfriend, Sam Yowler, formerly of St. Paris, and her brother, Nick Yowler, also formerly of St. Paris, all attended a midnight screening of the “Dark Knight Rises” on Friday at a suburban Denver cinema in Aurora where a lone gunman entered the theater, threw gas canisters and opened fire on the crowd. He killed 12 people, including McQuinn who spent his last moments shielding his girlfriend from the bullets. There were 58 peole injured in one of the deadliest shootings in United States history.

In a time like this, Hudson said, it’s best to not let things go unsaid or unresolved with family members.

“There’s unsettled business in each one of us where we could stand to pick up the phone or go knock on a door and clear the air,” said Hudson, who had just run into McQuinn at Chipotle in Springfield a few months ago.

Tim Cary, worship pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church, said residents should rely on God in these times of need.

Cary also had a small connection to the shooting. He recently started following Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster who also went by the name Jessica Redfield, on Twitter and saw her tweet about going to see the midnight showing. The next morning, he was shocked to hear she was one of 12 killed in the shooting along with McQuinn. Ghawi had recently survived shootings at a mall in Toronto last month.

Cary said hearing the news about Ghawi, who he only knew through social media, was an eye-opener.

“It was one of a bunch of tweets (about the movie), probably hundreds,” Cary said. “I remember reading that, and for me personally, you have to stop and realize that life is a vapor. We have plans and ideas and hopes and goals and dreams of what our lives are going to be, and we never really know where our next breath is going to come from.”

Two of McQuinn’s former band mates and friends said he exuded a lighthearted spirit even in the midst of having a bad day. Mark A. Robey, 29, of New Carlisle, and Aaron J. Snow, 29, of Springfield, said they all met at a youth study group at Maiden Lane Church in Springfield where they played together in a worship team band. McQuinn played bass guitar. Robey and Snow played the drums.

“He was always a happy guy,” Robey said. “There wasn’t a time where we got together that he wasn’t laughing. Even on bad days, when he was having a bad day, he would find the joy and laugh and lighten the mood.

“He was always thinking about other people,” Robey said. “He would drop anything he was doing to spend time with his friends.”

Aaron J. Snow, 29, of Springfield, similarly described McQuinn.

“Matt was a goofball,” Snow said. “He always had something funny to say, (he was) a guy to laugh with. One of those people to lighten the mood regardless of the situation.”

The two would spend hours talking and stay up playing video games into the “wee hours of the morning,” Snow said.

“He was a very good guy,” he said. “One of my closest friends. I don’t have very many, and he was definitely one of those.”

“That’s just where our friendship between all three of us got real solid,” Robey said.

Robey and Snow said they weren’t surprised by reports McQuinn used his body to shield Samantha during the tragedy.

“Matt definitely died a hero protecting Sam,” Snow said. “That’s definitely Matt, too. Didn’t surprise me when I heard that. He’ll drop everything if you need (him) to be with you.”

“I think when Matt had his mind set on something, he would do it, and if it involved a friend, or family member or someone he cared about, he would step up to the plate and help out,” Robey said. “I would say he definitely died a hero.”

Hudson said church officials from all walks of faith are ready to help area residents make sense of the tragedy.

“All it takes is the effort to reach out,” Hudson said.

Harrison Twp. woman charged with shooting fiancé appears in court

Published: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 @ 6:42 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 4:16 PM

HARRISON TWP. — A woman charged with reckless homicide for shooting and killing he fiance Tuesday night made her first court appearance Friday.   

  • The victim, 32-year-old Peter Underwood, lived in the home on Claggett Drive where the shooting occurred
  • Jessica L. Grieco, 33, told a 911 dispatcher she accidentally shot her fiance while she was attempting to unload a gun to prevent her fiance from committing suicide

UPDATE @ 11:02 a.m. (March 24, 2017):

Jessica Grieco appeared in Vandalia Municipal Court on a charge of reckless homicide, a third degree felony. Grieco did not enter a plea and did not have a lawyer.  

A judge set her bond at $50,000 cash or surety. If she can come up with 10% of that, she can be put on home electronic monitoring.


Six hours after a Harrison Twp. woman frantically told a 911 dispatcher she accidentally shot her supposedly suicidal fiance, she was arrested.

The next day, she was charged with reckless homicide. 

Jessica L. Grieco, 33, called 911 at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and told dispatchers she shot Peter Underwood, 32, at their home on Claggett Drive in Harrison Twp.  

“He’s shot in the chest. Get here now!” Grieco yelled. 

“He’s going to die!”  

Underwood died of a shotgun wound to the chest, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, which completed the autopsy Wednesday morning. The coroner ruled Underwood's death a homicide.  

Grieco repeatedly yelled, “Oh my God!” and said: “I tried to unload it. It went off because he was trying to commit suicide earlier. I had to take a rope from him earlier,” she said in the call, which the Dayton Daily News obtained through a public records request.  

Grieco said the shooting was an accident and that the gun was sitting still on scene. The dispatcher told the woman to keep pressure on Underwood’s wound. At one point in the call, there’s a noise that sounds like dishes being knocked on the floor.  

Grieco remains in the Montgomery County Jail.  

Emergency crews were dispatched to the single-family home at 6:27 p.m. Tuesday after the 911 call. She was booked into the jail at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

“It’s totally shocking," said Shawn Kauffman, a neighbor in the area near Northridge High School. “This neighborhood is quiet.”  

A woman later was seen crying in a police cruiser.  

“You hear occasional arguments but you don’t think something like this is going to happen,” Kauffman said.  

According to the incident report, photos, a projectile bullet/casing, blood and a weapon were among the evidence from the shooting.  

“It scares me because, like I said, you never know in this neighborhood,” neighbor Ronda Williams said. “I’m scared to even come out at nighttime.” 

At the end of the five-minute 911 call, the woman can be heard telling a deputy, “I was trying to take the bullet out of his gun …”


Senators, congressman to tour Wright-Patterson Friday

Published: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 4:01 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017 @ 4:01 PM

Five U.S. senators will tour Wright-Patterson Air Force Base on Friday for an inside look at the base’s military operations, officials say.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio and co-chairman of the Senate Air Force Caucus, will be joined by caucus co-chairman John Boozman, R-Arkansas.

Senate Armed Services Committee members Jack Reed, D-R.I., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii along with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio and U.S. Rep. Mike turner, R-Dayton, will be part of the congressional visit, according to the offices of Brown and Portman.

Brown invited the senators to highlight the base’s key role in research and development for national security, his office said.

Man shot, killed on Linden Ave. in Springfield identified

Published: Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 2:20 AM
Updated: Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 10:48 AM

UPDATE @ 10:42 a.m.

The victim shot to death on Linden Avenue Friday morning has been identified as Brandon Jamal Dearmond, 30, of Charles St. in Springfield. 

Police were initially dispatched to area of Linden and Rose Street, but could not find a victim, according to a Springfield Police report. They were then given an address in the 1300 block of Linden and found four or five people yelling for help on the porch.

The victim was located lying next to a lawnmower.

Officers began CPR on the porch, before medics arrived and continued to attempt to resuscitate him.

Dearmond was pronounced dead at the scene.

UPDATE @6:01 a.m.

A man died after he was shot on the porch of  Linden Avenue home, police said.

Police are still working to identify the victims and suspects.

Additional information is expected to be released this afternoon.

RELATED: Springfield’s first homicide of 2017 came less than a week ago

UPDATE @ 3:12 a.m. 

Springfield police confirm a man has died at the scene of a shooting on Linden Avenue. 

Additional details were not available. 

MORE: Springfield homicide underscores increased gun violence


A man has reportedly suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the 1300 block of Linden Avenue in Springfield early Friday morning. 

Police and medics were dispatched around 2:10 a.m. on initial reports of up to 30 shots fired, and at least one person injured by the gunfire. 

Scanner traffic indicates one victim was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds and police were administering CPR. 

We have a crew heading to the scene and we’ll update this page as new details become available. 

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Downtown Dayton’s first skyscraper put on the market

Published: Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 6:52 AM

The owners of a trail-blazing downtown skyscraper have put it on the market in the hopes of finding a buyer who sees the same kinds of potential in the property as they did.

Matrix Realty Group, the owners of the 23-story Grant Deneau Tower at 40 W. Fourth St., wanted to redevelop the tower into a mix of housing and office space using historic tax credits.

RELATED: Grant Deneau recommended for historic status

But Matrix’s CEO and founder died in late 2015, and his estate wants to sell the vacant tower or, possibly, find a partner for a joint venture, said Aaron Smiles, managing director of commercial leasing with Matrix, which is based in New York.

The 240,000-square-foot building, Smiles said, has a great location across from the Dayton Arcade, is eligible for tax credits to reduce the costs of redevelopment and has an attached parking garage, which is especially enticing and rare.

“That whole block, which they call the Nine, is going to take off,” Smiles said. “This is going to be a spectacular property.”

RELATED: Skyscraper’s role to rekindle downtown

The Grant Deneau Tower, Dayton’s first modern skyscraper, fell on hard times after Premier Health moved its headquarters out in 2012. The building was more than 90 percent vacant by late 2015.

The Grant Deneau’s last remaining tenants packed up and left in 2016. They were the state of Ohio and law firm ES Gallon and Associates.

But Matrix Realty Group was always bullish on the tower’s redevelopment prospects.

In recent years, the owners shared plans to acquire tax credits to convert the tower into retail and office space on the first six floors and housing on everything above.

RELATED: Grant Deneau Tower receives historic designation

That plan, however, was thrown off course when Glen Nelson, the firm’s founder, died of a heart attack at the age of 48.

But Smiles said he’s confident the building will attract interest from groups that recognize its unique advantages and offerings.

The building has a 360-space attached garage, is in good condition and is eligible for state and federal historic tax credits because it is list on the National Register of Historic Places, Smiles said.

The owners obtained the historic designation even though the building was not old enough to qualify for standard consideration. The Grant Deneau, however, was deemed to be of exceptional historic significance, which paved the way for placement on the register.

Tax credit awards will reduce the cost of renovating the tower and converting it into a mix of uses, such as housing and commercial, retail and restaurant space, Smiles said.

“The hardest part of getting the tax credits is already done, and that’s getting the building on the historic registry,” Smiles said. “The tax credits really make it affordable to redevelop the property.”

The mixed-use opportunities should be “appetizing” for some local and regional players, Don Roberts, first vice president for CBRE investment properties, which is marketing the tower.