Family stunned by death of Springfield man killed in shooting

The family of Springfield’s first homicide victim this year is in disbelief that their loved one is gone.

Jeffery Rife, 36, was shot early Saturday morning in the 500 block of South Clairmont Avenue. He was taken in a private car to the Springfield Regional Medical Center and later died from a gunshot wound to the head.

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Another man, Ronald McElroy, 43, was also shot on South Clairmont Avenue. He received a single gunshot wound to the leg, according to Springfield police.

Rife’s death is the city’s first homicide in 2017. The area has seen a decrease in homicides in the past year. Five people were killed in 2016 after 12 were murdered in 2015.

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An argument escalated into the shooting that killed Rife and injured McElroy, Springfield Police Division Lt. Jeffery Meyer said. Investigators have interviewed several witnesses, Meyer said, but they haven’t made an arrest and don’t have a suspect at this time.

Detectives have spoke with McElroy on Saturday.

“He is not very cooperative with the investigators,” Meyer said. “But they do want to attempt to speak with him again.”

Several 9-1-1 calls made early Saturday morning show the callers heard multiple gun shots.

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“There’s been some arguments going on right out at the intersection and now one person took off running,” one caller told emergency dispatchers.

“What they did, they took somebody special. I can’t live with this, I feel like I’m in a terrible nightmare,” said Patricia Rife, the mother of Jeffery Rife.

Jeffery Rife’s teen-aged daughter and older brother agreed. They all said Jeffery Rife was a well-loved man who valued life and family.

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“He was my best friend. We just celebrated my birthday, he bought me flowers,” said Taelor Cydrus, the only daughter of Jeffery Rife.

At this time, both the family and police have asked anyone with information to come forward.

“I just want Springfield to know, whoever did this, come forward,” said Ronald Rife Jr., Jeffery Rife’s brother. “If anyone out there knows what happened, please speak up, come forward.”

The Springfield Police Division can be reached at 937-324-7680 or 937-324-7716.

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