A makeshift memorial was placed near the spot where Sherrell Wheatley was shot on May 19. Wheatey, 62, died at an area hospital. Police say she was an innocent victim and that a drive-by shooter’s bullets were not meant for her.
Photo: STAFF
Photo: STAFF

Innocent bystander grandmother killed: ‘Hit by a bullet that has no eyes’

The Dayton address where police said a 62-year-old grandmother known for her Southern-style cooking died Saturday after a drive-by shooting had 26 shots fired into it last fall, according to police records.

Sherrell V. Wheatley, 62, of Dayton, died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Saturday’s homicide on North Euclid Avenue makes no sense to her son, Antwand Warren, who said Wheatley was a wholesome person who had no enemies and whom everybody loved.

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“That was my mom. I love her,” Warren said Monday about his mother, who also was his caregiver because he is a quadriplegic. “She was an angel to me. My everything. And somebody snatched that away.”

At the same brick house where Wheatley was shot, 26 bullets were fired about 12:30 a.m. Sept. 5, 2017, according to a Dayton police report.

Police said Wheatley was shot Saturday while walking just past 6 p.m. outside 866 N. Euclid — about one block from Wheatley’s own house. Neighbors said Wheatley had just fed some neighborhood dogs.

Wheatley was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries, Dayton police Sgt. Creigee Coleman said.

“A vehicle driven by a male had another male inside the vehicle, and that male fired several rounds towards an unknown house in an attempt to probably cause damage to that house,” Coleman said.

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The shooter fired five or six rounds, Coleman said, although a 911 caller told dispatchers he heard about 12 to 15 shots.

“I just happened to pull up, see my auntie in the grass dead,” said Aaron Taylor, who said the victim was his great aunt.

Taylor described his aunt as a sweet lady and matriarch of his family and the community: “Definitely innocent bystander walking up the street.”

“Now this is a situation where a person was indiscriminately firing a weapon, a large-caliber weapon from what I’ve been told, at a house and a person who was innocent just happened to be walking by and got hit by a bullet that has no eyes,” Coleman said.

Police are searching for a silver Ford Taurus or similar four-door car, and officers also are asking for the public’s help to come forward with any information at (937) 333-COPS or (937) 222-STOP.

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Wheatley had survived a knife attack by her husband in 2014 for which he went to prison.

Wheatley and Warren were stabbed by her husband, Stanley Wheatley, in June 2014 when they wouldn’t give him money for crack cocaine. Both mother and son were taken to a hospital to be treated.

Stanley Wheatley was sentenced to 22 years for attempted murder and aggravated robbery.

When asked Monday what he learned from his mother, Warren said, “Really how to survive. It’s a cold world.”

Warren said he wants anyone who saw something to contact police about who killed his church-going mother.

“I want justice,” Warren said. “That’s all. I want justice.”

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There have been multiple Dayton homicides in the past five years involving unintended targets.

Those include Taylor Brandenburg, killed by while babysitting at a Huffman Avenue home in 2017; 1-year-old Elijah Johnson, who was killed while people fired shots at each other on Arlene Avenue in 2016, and Daylyne Foster, who was killed (but her baby survived) during a shootout on Danner Avenue in 2013.

“It’s disgusting, this violence out here,” said Jackie Allen, who said she’s Wheatley’s niece. “You’re taking innocent people away from families and stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on out here.”

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Dayton police said Monday they had no new information to release about the fatal shooting or if it had anything to do with an incident last fall.

Most of the 26 bullets fired Sept. 5 last year did not penetrate the interior of the house, according to a Dayton police report.

A neighbor reported to police that he heard about 25 shots fired between 12:30 and 1 a.m. The neighbor said that when he looked outside, he saw two people shooting at each other, the report said.

“Once bullets began hitting the house, he took cover on the ground and did not witness anything else,” an officer wrote.

Another neighbor told police his home at 868 N. Euclid also had been shot and he believed his grandson had been shot during an altercation. Police found about 25 shots also had been fired into that residence.

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