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Robbery Suspected in Killing of Deaf Man

March 8, 2007

Rachel Barnhart (Rochester, N.Y.)

– David Howard was a kind man and a good father, according to those who knew him.

Rochester’s latest homicide victim was also deaf, leading family and police to suspect robbery as a motive.

Howard, 41, was shot on East Main Street last Friday evening. He was well-known in the neighborhood and walked everywhere.

“What did he do to you for you to want to do something like this to a person who couldn’t hear you? Couldn’t respond to you?” said his mother, Carrie Holmes.

Police say he may have been robbed, and are trying to retrace his last steps. They have no concrete leads.

Family members say he had just cashed his monthy Social Security check, and someone who knew his routine may have targeted him.

“He was a trusting person,” said his cousin, Kristal Smiley. “Anyone that knew him knew those characteristics, and I just felt he was taken advantage of.”

Howard had a wife, who is also deaf, and three children. His family said he graduated from Rochester School for the Deaf, and picked up odd jobs around town.

“We just want someone just to come forth and let the authorities know what happened so we can get this resolved,” said Smiley.

“The most valuable thing they took from him was his life,” said Holmes.

Howard’s funeral is Friday at 11 a.m. at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church.