Muhammad Shabazz Ali showed up at Day-Mont Behavioral Health Care twice on Wednesday, before and after police say he killed three people.
At 8:30 a.m. that day, the 61-year-old was agitated, throwing chairs and repeatedly yelling, “I want my medication!” according to 911 calls from the facility. Police sources said they took Ali to Grandview Medical Center for a mental evaluation and that he was released a few hours later.
At 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, Ali returned to Day-Mont, carrying a handgun 10 minutes after police said Ali shot three people to death at 35 Oxford Ave. Police apprehended Ali as he entered Day-Mont.
Ali served more than 20 years in prison for a 1988 voluntary manslaughter conviction in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court when he was known as Robert W. Ford. Ali is being held in Montgomery County Jail.
Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Greg Flannagan said that a three-prosecutor panel will meet Friday morning to discuss formal charges against Ali.
“At this point, part of our investigation revealed the suspect had been admitted to the hospital for evaluation earlier in the day but was released,” said a statement from Dayton police late Thursday afternoon. “The investigation, including what the relationship was between the suspect and the victims, is ongoing.”
Other police sources identified the victims as Ali’s ex-girlfriend, Tammy Cox, 53, Cox’s son, Michael D. Cox, 25, and Tammy Cox’s boyfriend, Jasper Taylor, 74. The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Taylor’s cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds, but that the other two autopsies were not completed Thursday afternoon.
“Can you get to 35 Oxford immediately, please? 35 Oxford. Some people have been shot, please,” a 911 caller said before the call cuts off. After a dispatcher called back, the caller names Ali as the suspect and whispers, “Please hurry. Please, please, please.”
Neighbors said they heard nine or 10 shots and then saw a man casually leave the area in a vehicle.
“One of the responding crews followed the suspect while the other checked for victims,” the Dayton police statement said. “After a pursuit that lasted about five minutes, Ali was apprehended in the 1500 block of Germantown Street.”
Dayton police asked anyone with additional information to call (937) 333-COPS (2677) or (937) 222-STOP (7867).
Flannagan said that Ali’s 1988 criminal case file — which detailed the conviction for killing Angela Richardson — was accidentally destroyed by the records center in 2008. A voluntary manslaughter conviction at that time meant a prison term from nine to 25 years.
Richardson’s sister, Denise, told this news organization that her sister was 21 years old and eight months pregnant with her and Ali’s third child when her sister was stabbed to death. Denise said she saw the triple homicide report on her phone and didn’t realized Ford had changed his name.
“When I came to his name, it just made me sick, like, ‘Oh my God,’ ” she said. “Today, seeing that, it seemed like it happened all over again. … It just brought it all back.”
An Ohio Dept. of Correction and Rehabilitation spokeswoman said Ali was in prison from Sept. 7, 1988 until he was paroled on Jan. 16, 2009. Ali then was released from supervision Jan. 13, 2010.
Kettering Health Network spokeswoman Liz Long said due to patient privacy protection regulations, she can’t confirm or deny whether Ali was at Grandview Hospital or whether an emergency hospitalization was ordered.
Long quoted Ohio law that dictates that a person brought to a hospital for a mental evaluation has to be examined within 24 hours.
Long said that after an examination, “if the chief clinical officer believes that the person is not a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization by court order, the chief clinical officer shall release or discharge the person immediately unless a court has issued a temporary order of detention.”
Long said that a person’s criminal history is not used to determine whether they presently have a mental illness. Long said that Ohio law states that if a person is found to be mentally ill, they can be held for up to three court days.
Two 911 calls from Day-Mont described how Ali acted Wednesday morning.
“We have a client that’s throwing stuff and cussing and carrying on and very violent in the lobby,” one caller said. “He’s throwing stuff, breaking stuff up in here.”
Another 911 caller said, “We have a client that’s, um, irritated and we need some police here, like, right away,” the second caller said. A man can be heard in the background yelling, “I want my medication,” as staff tried to keep him under control.
When Ali returned to Day-Mont, he had the handgun with him when police took him into custody.
“Certainly clients and staff had anxiety raised by the incident,” said Gayle Johnson, Day-Mont Behavioral Health Care President.
One victim, Michael D. Cox, was released July 4, 2016, after serving a four-year sentence for aggravated robbery and felonious assault in Montgomery County.
In January 2014, Cox asked Judge Mary Wiseman for an early judicial release, saying he would “live an honest, law abiding, hard-working, successful, productive, contributing life” when he was released. Wiseman denied the request.